Reviews:


Peter Thelen    15-October-2002 Drones

Jean-Philippe Goude - "Drones" (Musea FGBG 4102.AR, 1979/1994, CD) Goude, of course, was a member of the legendary Magma spinoff band Weidorje in the late 70's, where he and Patrick Gauthier shared the keyboard duties. This album was recorded as Weidorje was winding down, and as such features most of the lineup of that band on several tracks, as well as members of Heldon and other outstanding French musicians of the day. The guest list for this album reads like a who's who of late 70's French rock - there are no less than 27 guests contributing here.

The music is essentially a mix of solo-oriented keyboard pieces like "Coma" and "Duo," and more group oriented pieces that span the range of influences from neo-classical to jazz to throbbing zeuhl. "Tintinnabulum" is an eerie jazz-meets-neo-classical take on a vaguely recognizable melody; "Machine" uses a string quartet as a melodic foundation for synth musings by Goude and Pinhas; "Les Saturnales" is a energized three-piece workout between Paganotti, Goude and Rust, with vocal contributions by Klaus Blasquiz; "Trepidanse" is a playful piece for two dueling synth's over Sylvin Marc's bass and Manu Katche's drums. "Dies Irae" is a zeuhl scorcher featuring all the big names; it sounds like a track that could have been destined for a second Weidorje album. One bonus track, "Trio De Mini-Moogs" featuring Goude, Gauthier and Benoit Widemann taking turns soloing, closes the CD nicely. If there is any weakness here, it may be the album's lack of a uniform style, which may puzzle the listener at first, but shouldn't be a problem for the open minded. In all, an excellent reissue.

(Originally published in Exposť # 4, p. 24, Edited for Gnosis 5/22/01)



Mike Grimes    15-October-2002 Ainsi De Nous

Jean-Philippe Goude - Ainsi De Nous (Hopi Mesa 852504, 1994, CD)

This album is a collection of small ensemble pieces written by French composer Goude for some really interesting combinations of orchestral instruments. There are no drums, electric bass, or guitar to be found here, yet, there's no sign of the standard string quartet either. Most of the pieces have combinations of instruments like clarinet, bassoon, violin, and bass - not your typical quartet arrangement. However, these orchestrations work with Goude's compositions. The clarinet players typically have a Benny Goodman light jazz sound, while the violinists lean more toward a more traditional classical tone. The only sign of a rhythm section would be the piano present on a majority of the tracks. The tunes follow the format of one lead instrument with the other players providing pretty sparse background balance. You won't find any blazing solos or intense counterpoint here. As a whole, the songs are very light and relaxing. They would be perfect for a movie soundtrack - the kinds of songs that don't jump out at you, yet if you listen to them closely, there is something there to appreciate. Goude himself only plays harmonium on the album - probably the least featured of all the performers. One track featuring a tenor vocalist and one highlighting a soprano saxophonist (quite nice) breaks up the dominance of the clarinets and violins. The range of styles is from 1950's jazz to modern classical. If you like light, melodic orchestral works for small ensembles, this will probably interest you.

(Originally appeared in Expose issue 7, edited for Gnosis 7/15/01).




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