Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thierry Muller-RARE AND UNRELEASED 1974-1984 CD (Fractal France, available via Volcanic Tongue the last time I looked)

Richard Pinhas-SINGLES COLLECTION 1972-1980 CD (Captain Trip Japan)

This is part two.

You probably already remember the first part. If not, just scroll down one post (or better yet click here) and read my very opinions regarding French rock & roll and just how much I believe that our freres Francaise have been generally abused and misunderstood for quite a longer time than any of us Amerigans would imagine, or admit for that matter. And in keeping with the tone of the previous writeup, here are two more platters of Franco origin and they're all whatcha'd call interesting if not pseudo-mandatory platters for the smart set to tingle toes in. While they might not be of 100% rock & roll origin per se they do have their basic rockism instincts firmly embedded into the shiny aluminum layer from when their sounds emanate. Even a stickler for the high energy rock style like myself got at least some satisfaction listening to both of these Gallic gompers that I probably woulda sneered at even a good twenty years ago, so don't go sayin' that this is just "more" lousy French music because no matter how hard you squint your ears and let your feelings rise to the top of the toilet this music is good stuff and only a rabid bigot would say otherwise!

Of course my appreciation of both disques might only mean that jamz are getting harder to kick out these days, but then again maybe it means that I am "maturing" as a music listening/discerning individual and that even I can find enough rock & roll worthiness even in the most cyborg, electronic-laden areas imaginable. Probably the former much more than the latter, because either way I'll still take the Flamin' Groovies over the whole lot of 'em, but that ain't to say that these offerings ain't without their natural charm and ability!

I mentioned Thierry Muller (forgive the lack of umlauts above the "u") about a month or so back in relation to his appearance on the (probably top o' the year...forgive me if I neglect to mention it) Ruth single, and that slice of late-seventies avant-churn was so good that I just hadda give this recent collection of rare recordings the proverbial go at it! As far as "go at it"s go, it's a fairly good go at that, an pleasant-enough collection of electronic music created by the Ilitch of well reknown whose career was obviously more than the TEN SUICIDES album that seemed to populate more than a few Renaissance/Systematic Music mailorder catalogs I received throughout the years. The material done as part of the electronic group Arcane from '74 is amazingly a good decade ahead of the rest of the punk electronic crowd, sounding like a missing channel from that Hawkwind release we've always been wanting to hear with its feral drones and surprisingly enough a flute weaving in and out of the general destruction. The Ilitch tracks from a year later are mystifying in their utter cyborg buzz, and it's a shame that this kinda adventurous music hadda devolve into some mighty sad whackoff sounds once everybody got their own synths to play around with (and their own records labels as well). Thankfully the Ruth single re-appears complete with the outta-focus topless shot resplendent in the enclosed booklet plus the fine electronic punk that makes 'em a Euro Ubu bar none, and while the eighties-vintage Crash material didn't quite excite me the way the earlier tracks do it all made for good middle-of-the-night kinda FM college radio zone out sounds, only without the wonderfully nasal back announcements of the previous hour's worth of music.

For more French electronic blare why not give Richard Pinhas' SINGLE COLLECTION 1972-1980 on the Captain Trip label a try. Not that Pinhas or his electronic music is anything that I'd run out and mortgage the farm to hear (I always had him pegged as one of the guiding lights the late-seventies progressive rock movement, and not being quite the follower of that sort of soundscapading it wasn't like I was going to forsake the primal pastures of the Rough Trade catalog for that stuff!), but the inclusion of some early rare single sides from the guy had me thinking that a worthwhile dunce-thud attitude might be inherent in these early-seventies tracks that certainly would not come up to the standards of the usual seventies prog rock fanatic. These sides do exude a fine sense of Gallic trash-appeal not unlike those bands that appear on the TETES LOURDES sampler of early-seventies French heavy metal, and I gotta admit that it's a nice change 'o pace listening to Pinhas and his band Schizo mixing crass and technical on these early platters whilst the wah-wah guitars battle it out with electronic swirls for rockism supremacy. Of course by the time we travel further throughout the seventies the music does tighten up resulting in more "serious" synthesized drones and middle-of-the-night 1978 college radio fodder but hey, even I can appreciate the sterile French electronic-prog attempt at a cover of "Telstar" even if it comes nowhere near the Fans' take!

OK, there's nothing end-of-the-world earth-shattering on either of these disques, but I like both of them enough not to have then linger at the bottom of the pile amidst all of those latterday Pharoah Sanders and Lexicon Devil disques (the ones I haven't smashed already, that is!). Although I probably WON'T be buying any other items by either Muller or Pinhas in a billyun years I can at least say that I now have at least a tidbit of appreciation for what both bonzos were doing during the seventies and dang it but the call of the classic import bin does tug at my shattered spirit from a good thirtysome years all the harder...somebody gimme a Jem catalog, quick!


Anonymous said...

Maybe next an overdue appraisal of high energy Australian garage/punk/rock?

Christopher said...

Uh, in case you haven't been in on the whole BLACK/BLOG TO COMM trip, that "overdue appraisal" was done in 1985.