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MP3 Push The Triangle - ELECTRONIC: Experimental

electro jazz

10 MP3 Songs
ELECTRONIC: Experimental, JAZZ: Jazz Vocals

This French quintet pushes the envelope while garnering high-marks for originality and breadth of implementation. Franck Vigroux cranks out atypical avant-rock sounds from his electric guitar and turntables. As the remainder of the band comprises, cornet- drums-saxophone-vocals. It’s easily one of the more captivating music marvels of 2005, where the band’s experimentalism spans rock, free-jazz, and classical concepts. Howling guitars seek a happy medium with difficult time navigations and wild jazz parts. The ensemble’s genre bashing transforms into an unswerving makeup, spiced with stabs at humor and a quasi, electronic-organic tone. They even fuse indigenous folk/rock musings into the heart of matters. Three cheers are in order for an ensemble that transcends a good deal of experimental muck, surfacing within European and American music circles. Given the unorthodox chain of events, these folks somehow seem to pull it all together
glenn arista , all about jazz

"Trafficking in international stereotypes for a moment, let''s say that most of the time Americans-and for that matter English-Canadians-have a hard time accepting extra-musical attachments to the sounds they listen to, even when it comes to improvised music. But continental Europeans-especially the French-love these sorts of expansions. For North Americans, non-figurative lyrics, onomatopoeia, poetry, movement, and recitations are heard as just so much obfuscation and pseudo-intellectualism. Conversely, improvisers from other nations see these appendages as helping to tell the story.

All of this may be a roundabout way to point out that both of this impressive CDs, each involving saxophones and string players, are undeniably French improv, electro jazz. The musicians involved spray a patina of recitations, chants, electronic interface, and eccentric instruments on top of what Yank and Canuk mainstreamers would probably call the "real" music.

So does guitarist Franck Vigroux''s Push the Triangle (D''Autres Cordes). Vigroux, who lives in Monastier, France, is known for his fretless guitar work and earlier CDs with microtonal explorers like harpist Hélène Breschand. But this ten-song CD is different still. Besides his guitars, Vigroux utilizes all the sounds that can be scratched, sampled, and pre-organized using a turntable and a laptop computer.

The rest of his quintet includes Parisian alto saxophonist Stéphane Payen, who spent a year at Berklee, but usually plays with French experimenters like pianist Benoît Delbecq, drummer Michel Blanc, and cornetist-vocalist Médéric Collignon, who was part of clarinetist Louis Sclavis'' most recent group. A few tracks also incorporate Jenn Priddle, whose voice is used to dulcetly recite passages in English, except on one piece, where she murmurs non-verbally and not too impressively in a breathy, practically somnolent voice.

Much more palatable are her verbal interjections which appear on tunes such as "Recycling Lilas", where a description of traveling by sea from Marseilles to the Algerian coast slots snugly into Vigroux''s sound miasma. Around her voice are looping, vibraharp-like concussions, wiggling chromatic outlines, and speedy glissandi from Vigroux''s guitars, breathy alto saxophone obbligatos from Payen, plus muted cornet tones and throat growls from Collignon. Underneath all this, like the ocean beneath a seagoing vessel, is the steady buzz from the turntable and samples.

Elsewhere, influences from rock music and mainstream jazz creep into "Sept Seconds de Pacifique" and other tunes. On "Sept..." underlying vinyl scratches and sideband reverberations fight for aural space with split-second snatches of growly French pop songs. Guitar licks are distorted to reed textures until a bouncing rondo turns into call-and-response tone-trading from a rooster-crowing cornet and a goose-honking saxophone, climaxed by a hullabaloo of squealing guitar flanges.

Vigroux may be using piezos to split the signal from each of his strings for extra divergence on some tracks. At different times extended guitar techniques are a necessity to interact with rhythms seemingly cut and pasted from a disco record, Collignon''s Gallic scat singing, relentless back beat explosions from Blanc, and hearty honks from Payen, which are firmly New Thing at one point, and New Romantic on another.

For instance, growly plunger tones from the brass face distorted guitar reverb as well as speedy turntable rumbles. Or cross-sticking bounces and rolls from Blanc that shape themselves into a march beat call forth organ-like repetitive echoes and input overlay from Vigroux''s guitar and turntables. Using prepared piano on "Snapshot", the guitarist also conjures up ominous ghostly textures-although a subsequent forearm keyboard smash brings forth high-pitched tremolo slurs and fluttering shrills from the cornetist.

Collignon, whose vocal talents are often exhibited in such seemingly antithetical surroundings as Sclavis'' combo and the Orchestre National de Jazz, lets loose on the two final tunes. On "Darling", his mouth trickery takes in lip clicking and throat buzzing, while his cornet spits out traditional jazz style triplets. Concussive finger taps from Vigroux and extended Evan Parker-like reed slurs from Payne tint the background. Using primitive amplification on the fittingly titled "Megaphones", Collignon''s climatic piece offers up a nasal, back-of-the-throat hork, preceded by a series of Bronx cheers, buzzing lisps, Donald Duck-like expostulations, and altered verbal tones." Ken WAXMAN (one final note)

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