Cours Tout Nu, Pt 3

Part three of our survey of recent releases from Fou Records. You recall how the record by Joëlle Léandre and Phil Minton contained a printed text by Tristan Tzara. The Tzara connection continues even more explicitly on the vinyl LP L’Homme Approximatif LP (FR-LP 05). Tzara’s name is given the main credit on the front cover. Chants 1 and 2 are in scope. The musicians for this are Jean-Marc Foussat, with Jean-Francois Pauvros doing the vocal recit, and Jamal Moss playing flute, piano, and stringed instruments. There are numerous thanks given to library and art establishments on the back cover, and copyright holders, perhaps for providing access to the text and the Paul Klee images, but I don’t sense that this is being presented as some sort of “definitive” rendition of the Dada text – rather a free-spirited interpretation of same, by these gifted improvisers. Pauvros delivers the words in a very stern and stentorian voice, which does give it a lot of authority, but I wonder if he misses the “fun” part of being a Dadaist. I like Tzara in the anarchic and iconoclastic version presented to us by Tom Stoppard in his Jumpers play. The music is about the most abstract of all the records in this FOU batch – weird electronic sequences on the Synthi AKS, echoplexed flute, distant piano fugues. None of the music seems to follow the text or attempt to “illustrate” it in any way, but that probably isn’t really possible. May be interesting to compare their approach to that of Raymond Dijkstra alias Le Souffleur, who rendered the texts of the Comte de Lautréamont (surrealist hero) in electronic music and voice with the help of his reciter, Frédérique Bruyas.

Another Jean-Marc Foussat treat on Dans Les Courbes (FR-CD26), where he teams up with the pianist Xavier Camarasa for an astonishing two-part sound work, ‘L’immensite Des Instincts’ and ‘La-bas, ou tout n’est que d’eau’. Camarasa is a new name to me and I find this French pianist is conversant with the prepared piano and the Fender Rhodes, and is a composer too; some may have heard him as part of the trio MilesDavisQuintet! who play drums, cello and piano (they don’t do cover versions of Miles, as far as I can make out). The two pieces here are quite far away from “normal” free improvisation and shade rather into electronic art-noise with percussive elements – the piano acting more like a drumkit, and after all it is a percussion instrument – and I would liken it to an experiment of the sort Chris Cutler and Thomas Dimuzio might have devised in the 1990s. If you’re a lover of the Synthi AKS sound, and want to hear what diabolerie Foussat can muster with this instrument, this is the album to pick. Camarasa provides the perfect support for these wild synth eruptions and spurting horrors, with his solid punched-out rhythms tapped out with the authority of a telegrapher on board a sinking ship; he also adds a faint taste of classical European salon piano tinged with jazzy elements when the occasion demands it, thus creating a necessary tension within the music so that it isn’t simply a crazy stream of unnatural noise. In short, the combination of these two musicians is uncanny in terms of how it all gels into a perfect and very compelling sound, full of drama and moment, and indeed much more “barbaric” in a good way than the Barbares above. This wildness is amply illustrated by the erupting volcano on the cover. There’s also a semi-surreal appreciative sleeve note inside by Matthieu Jouan where he praises the importance of “instinct”, while also suggesting that the term itself may be bankrupt in today’s “monde ultra policé”, by which I suppose he means too many things in the world are being monitored, measured, surveilled and analysed. Plus there’s an engraving of some grotto by the ocean suggesting caverns fathomless to man. This album may just be the pick of the bunch…

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