Laurent Bardainne | Fabrice Martinez | Thomas de Pourquery Drôles de Dames

BMCCD287 2021

After travelling round the Earth in the lineup Supersonic, shooting their psychedelic rockets in the largest concert halls and stadiums, these three wonderful French musicians have come together in BMC’s Budapest studio, to set off on a cosmic journey. On their way to an unknown destination, they unhooked every safety belt, and relied solely on their own instinct and experience when taking the musical direction: since they are erudite musicians, this led to completely improvised music which however evokes the feel of having been composed, and contains masses of references to pop culture and jazz. As to what gives drive to their spacedance on the brink of free improvisation, it is contemporary endeavours, ambient experiments, bright synth-pop and unbridled psychedelics. At the same time there is more than a little reflection of emblematic albums such as Miles Davis’s In a Silent Way, or Klaus Schulze’s opus Timewind, and perhaps we wouldn’t be far wrong in detecting even the influence of John Carpenter’s film music or Sun Ra’s retrofuturism (a personal favourite of Thomas’s). None of this is accidental, if we bear in mind something Thomas once said, that ‘music is the only known spaceship, or at least the only time machine. It is stunning. Here it is, before our very eyes: music is able to shorten time.’


Artists

Fabrice Martinez – trumpet, flugelhorn
Laurent Bardainne – analogue synthesizer, tenorsaxophone
Thomas de Pourquery – voice, alto saxophone


About the album

Recorded by Viktor Szabó at BMC Studio, Budapest on 14-15 June, 2019.
Mixing: Guillaume Jay at Studios Ferber (Paris)
Master: Viktor Szabó
Artwork: László Huszár / Greenroom
Produced by László Gőz / Label manager: Tamás Bognár


Reviews

Catherine Carette - fip.fr (fr)

Jean-Jacques Birgé - Mediapart (fr)

Matthieu Jouan - citizenjazz.com (fr)

Matthieu Jouan - citizenjazz.com (fr) - interview

Le Noise (Jérôme Gillet) - froggydelight.com (fr)

Eric Delhaye - francemusique.fr (fr)

Louis Julien Nicolaou - Télérama **** (fr)

P.B. - Rolling Stone (fr)

Bruno Guermonprez - Jazz News (fr)

Guy Darol - Jazz Magazine (fr)

Michel Clavel - Jazz-Rhone-Alpes.com (fr)

Jacques Denis - Libération (fr)

Olasz Sándor - riff.hu (hu)

Fidelio/MTI - Fidelio (hu)


3500 HUF 11 EUR

01 Dancing in the Dark (Awaking of the White Night) 5:35
02 Time 6:14
03 The Sign part 1 5:53
04 The Sign part 2 5:01
05 The Sign part 3 2:42
06 Mr. Galaxy 4:58
07 Night of the Strangler 2:32
08 Magic Fire 5:21
09 Antique Angels 3:15
Total time 41:35

The album is available in digital form at our retail partners



COSMIC TRIP
 
Launched by NASA in 1977, the Voyager probes continue to fly twenty billion kilometres from the Earth, each carrying a Golden Record with recordings of a Brandenburg Concerto by Bach, Aboriginal songs, the piece Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry, Indian ragas, and Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground by Blind Willie Johnson, in the hope that this human music will fall on extraterrestrial ears (if they have any). But what would they send us in return? Perhaps the CD you are holding now, in the introduction of which a few notes on the synthesiser (B flat-C-A flat-A flat-E flat) echo the code that attracts the UFO in Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. What follows on this album is an odyssey conducted by three men who, though they seem Terrestrial, slice through space like Spock on board the starship Enterprise, even though to cover their tracks they christened it Drôles de Dames (DDD, the French title for Charlie’s Angels), something that makes plenty of references to the pop culture they are bursting with.
 
The space odyssey is accompanied by a time warp: who still makes concept albums where the pieces follow one another without a break so the listener can’t find the way out? We enter DDD in the same way as Spirit of Eden by Talk Talk (1988), an assumed influence: evanescent pop where the voice of Mark Hollis floats, the founder of post-rock sophistication. Hearing it, his producer dissolved in tears – not of emotion, but because he could sense the coming commercial failure (it was a success with the critics). A game of references, with some erudition, since we are dealing with three learned musicians aware of the legacy of their predecessors, especially in jazz which they practise so hard: we can hazard a mention of In a Silent Way by Miles Davis (1969), Timewind by Klaus Schulze (1975), John Carpenter’s BOF, recent releases by The Flaming Lips, and a galaxy of stalkers on the borders of free improvisation, contemporary endeavours, ambient experimentation, bright synth-pop and unbridled psychedelics. At the same time, a gamble as much as an achievement, DDD sounds like nothing that came before.

The launch ramp was in the BMC studio in Budapest, where the trio holed up for a session said to be epic, split between contemplation and exuberance. But for a cosmic trip the propulsion seemed minimal: trumpet and flugelhorn for one, an analogue synthesiser and tenor sax for another, voice and alto sax for the last -- to which is added a battery of effects. The winds murmur or shout, the keyboards are wrapped in blankets, and the voice is unfurls like a mantra, conjuring up SF films, retrofuturism and even the frenzy of Sun Ra. This unleashes a whirlwind that moves in a sphere close to the sacred, where each person commits his sensibility or spirituality – it’s just how you feel it, because this music has the generosity to give free reign to interpretation. By turns harmonious, bitter, malicious, or emphatic, it’s a turbulent journey: humming and shrillness must be overcome, along with spite and torment, before the skies clear in the form of a contemplative coda, to designate the end of the world, or the coming of a new one. Let’s look at it optimistically, in the presence of these extra(ordinary) terrestrials, Fabrice Martinez, Laurent Bardainne, and Thomas de Pourquery.
 
Éric Delhaye
Translated by Richard Robinson