Elvis Dingue

Enjoyable loopy record from France Sauvage, released on the ever-reliable Doubtful Sounds label, home of our favourite French misfits such as Ogrob, Astatine, Micro_Penis and Sun Stabbed. Appearing on Le Monde Des Doigts (doubt 16) are four amiable nutcases, the drummer Johann Mazé, keyboard player and singer Simon Poligné, saxophonist Manuel Duval, and Arno Bruil, credited with computer, record-player, and live electronics. Right there you’ve got a creditable set up for an evening of free improvisation, and indeed the record more or less starts out that way. But Johann Mazé also does samples, and Manuel Duval brings another computer to the picnic, and pretty soon there are fun-loving clips, snippets and song fragments flying about in a free-spirited collage. Within five mins you’ll be loving the warm sense of humour of these dingbats, after ten mins you’ll start to doubt their sanity, and then doubt your own ears. You had me at ‘Nettoyer Les Insectes’, mes gars…

The sampling approach here is quite some way from eRikm for instance, who does it in improv settings but usually in a fairly “serious” manner; these Sauvages clearly have no respect for anything too self-important, and come close to label-mate Ogrob’s playful subversiveness (though they don’t share his sardonic sense of humour). By close of side one, we’ve been treated to a very silly Elvis impersonation with some cabaret-styled keyboards one could describe as “idiote”, to use a French word, in a surreal performance punctuated with barnyard animal samples. Fairly crackers, but in a balmy and affable manner…the second side sees the quartet settle into some more extended playing, and they manage to produce a much more enjoyable form of that particular sort of “digital soup”, as I used to characterise it, that we heard so often on Günter Müller’s label For 4 Ears in the early 2000s. More enjoyable because it’s not overly saturated with computer-based sounds, and there’s a lot more space, and a lot more actual instrument-playing rather than simply droning away in the EAI mode.

This curiosity was originally issued in 2009 on a CDR by the French label Larsen Commercial and presumably didn’t do too well. Now on vinyl, the brilliant collage artwork of fingers stuck in various pipes is now visible on a larger scale and set against a new “outer space” background. It’s also co-released by eight other obscure labels. I ask you, does life get any better than this? From 7th September 2017.