Crève Mais L’ombre

French maverick Franck Vigroux has long been a favourite at TSP on account of his gloomy paranoid caste, his do-everything approach in the studio, and his penchant for churning out ugly, crunchy studio noise by the yard. On Ciment (DAC RECORDS DAC1973), I’m happy to note he’s finally realised a solo guitar album, which is apt considering how often I’ve personally likened him to Fripp and Pinhas (two of our favourite art-guitarmeisters). Through 10 jet-black tracks of home recordings, Vigroux explores various solo possibilities, including as near-perfect an imitation of “electric” Derek Bailey as we’ve ever heard, and the use of a slide for an occasional dabble into 21st-century Tarotplane swamp blues – evoking The Magic Band, after they wake up in the middle of a grim Parisian banlieue. There are also passages of understated guitar-noise, where the amplifier hum itself has a useful part to play, but Franck restrains his normal carcinogenic tactics in favour of exhibiting a profound melancholic emotion, a sadness that seeps into every track regardless of how good a job the roofer did with the Polyfilla. The time is ripe for Vigroux and Michel Henritzi to make an album together. The other thing to note on this release is its superb sound quality; the presence of a musician in the room is palpable, the details of the instrument are larger than life, and it’s great that for once he stepped away from the studio console and curbed his tendency towards applying excessive reverb processing, just so we can appreciate what a strong guitar-player he is. From September 2014.