Saturday, May 2, 2009
Patrick Vian, BRUITS ET TEMPS ANALOGUES
Egg, 1976; out of print
9 tracks, 39:49
Six years after Red Noise's lone LP (reviewed previously on this very blog!), main weirdo Patrick Vian unleashed this electronic rock masterpiece. The son of musician/author/playwright/etc. Boris Vian*, Patrick decided to experiment heavily with Moogs and Arps, aided by a sequencer and some very talented sidemen. Georges Granier provides marimbas, scissors(!), "occult noises"(!!), and Fender Rhodes, while Bernard Lavialle contributes guitar and Mino Cinelu provides percussion. None of the other players shows up very often, with Cinelu contributing to a mere two tracks and Lavialle being easily discernible on just as many. While opening track "Sphère" implies this will be straightforward rock, with its introduction of a powerful riff and some frantic tinkling percussives, Vian soon enters on his synths to add some interesting coloration. This comes very close to sounding like a less Fripp-enthralled Heldon. "Grosse Nacht Musik", on the other hand, is all synth textures, comparing favorably to other electronic music of the time while remaining distinct. No two tracks really sound alike, going from the electro-exotica of "Oreknock" to the sleazy and bluesy "R&B Degenerit!" (this one REALLY sounds like its name!) and ending with the musique concrete of "Tricentennial Drag". Curiously, one of the all-synth numbers (and one of the highlights) is called "Tunnel 4 Red Noise"; it certainly doesn't sound like his former band, but the same sense of whimsy and wonder is present throughout. Every last note has aged gracefully, and there are some bands even now who would give anything to sound this amazing. It almost seems incredible that nobody has seen the need to reissue this; it certainly would give Stereolab, Pram, et al serious competition if it was a new release! This is truly unique electronic music from the period that defined the genre. For the record, the album's title means "similar places and times" in English.
*Do yourself a favor and listen to some Boris Vian. Tracks like the EXTREMELY dirty "Fais Moi Mal Johnny" certainly provide some insight to Patrick's bizarre sense of humor. They're also just plain fun, and catchy as hell!