Peter Thelen    3-July-2001 "Bebe Godzilla"

Patrick Gauthier - "Bebe Godzilla"
(Seventh REX XVIII, 1982/1994, CD)

Gauthier was, of course, a keyboardist in Weidorje, that mystical Magma spinoff that recorded one album and vanished. In fact he was briefly a member of Magma as well, but he is probably best known for his tenure with Pinhas/Heldon. Bebe Godzilla is a potent mixture of electronics, powerful zeuhl, and jazz-rock, with a touch of classical creeping in from time to time. Naturally, as one might expect, the mix is dominated by keyboards, yet Gauthier spared no effort on assembling an outstanding cast of support musicians. The guest list is like an index of the best and most creative musicians France has to offer: Richard Pinhas, Didier Batard, Alain Bellaiche and Francois Auger from Heldon; Benoit Widemann, Bernard Paganotti and Christian Vander from Magma; Michel Ettori, Kirt Rust and Jean-Phillipe Goude, as well as brothers Alain & Yvon Guillard - all ex-members of Weidorje; Cooky Rhynoceros from Hydravion; David Rose from Transit Express. The list goes on, I think you get the picture. Musically, the project comes off shining and powerful, comparable to Jean-Philippe Goude's Drones, but a bit more jazz oriented. All considered, this one's a monster, and a must-have for anyone into the sound of Pinhas or Magma, or any points in between. Highly recommended for anyone with an ear for some essential and spirited keyboard based jazz-rock.

(Originally published in Exposť # 6, p. 51, Edited for Gnosis 7/1/01)

Peter Thelen    16-April-2001 Sur Les Flots Verticaux

Patrick Gauthier - "Sur Les Flots Verticaux" (Seventh A XI, 1993, CD)

Once the keyboard man for Magma and Weidorje, Gauthier's solo career began with his now-legendary Bebe Godzilla in 1981. What we find here from the early 90's has far less overall reliance on electronics, and instead a turn in a more jazzy direction - more comparable to the outings of Christian Vander's Offering, lots of piano and chorus vocals (provided by Stella and Julie Vander, no less, plus Benedicte Ragu and Alain Bellaiche). There are other familiar names in this lineup as well: Drummer Antoine Paganotti (son of Bernard), and Marc Eliard (ex of Weidorje) makes a couple of guest appearances on stick-bass.

There is good variety within the music presented across the album's six tracks, from the spirited jazz feel on the title track and "Des Pygmees..", to a more programmed touch on "Le Train Phantome", and a four minute piano solo in "Odessa". The English lyrics on a couple tracks tend to be a bit uninspiring (two tracks are sung in English, one French, one Greek, and two are instrumentals), which is my only reservation about the album. One track "Eleutheren" is a definite standout - one where everything seems to come together in just the right proportions. Overall, I'd have to say that as an album it only works to a degree; nonetheless there are several excellent tracks herein.

(Originally published in Exposť #3, p.9, Edited for Gnosis 3/24/01)

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