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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Un Drame Musical Instantané - À Travail Égal Salaire Égal [Klanggalerie - 2018]

À Travail Égal Salaire Égal is the third album from this French avant collective- originally released in 1982 on the bands own GRRR label- here it gets it first ever CD release. The album sees the project creating a surreal & often densely layered release, that drifts from  & blends together modern classical composition, quirky electronics, avant jazz ‘n’ rock, and layers of radiophonic elements.

This release is a  follows up to Klanggalerie's 2017 reissue of the band's second album Rideau! . With the CD coming in a four-panel glossy digipak, which takes in the original album artwork of a classical painting & steel work pictures. The reissue takes in the original four tracks, plus a never released extra track- bringing the album's runtime up to just shy of the hour mark.

For this album, the three-piece project of Jean-Jacques Birgé, Bernard Vitet, & Francis Gorgé are joined by 16 other collaborators- who fill out the more orchestrated/ classical elements of the album. And to say this is an often dense, highly puzzling, yet wonderfully unbalancing album is a understatement. Think a classical focused  Rock in Opposition album, blended with jazz touches,  surreal & playful radiophonic elements, gone wrong easy listening music & strange electronic textures- then you’ll get sort of a rough idea of what we have here.

The album opens with field recordings from a steelworks of machinery, fire, hissing & metal clang. Underneath & around this we slow/ subtle introduction of string simmer, gamelan-like clutter, & string picks. As we move into the second & the longest track here – the nearing nineteen“Crimes Parfaits”( for magnetic tape, string Septet, and radiophonic orchestra)- we get a heady & shifty blend of brooding & melding string discordant, backwards French spoken work & wonky string twangs,  swirling & chirpy electronics, and avant jazz/ rock work-outs. All edged with sudden build-ups of rapidly cut sonic collage that swifts through easy listening, jazz, pop, operatics, random discussion, etc.

Track number three “Pourquoi La Nuit?” is a blend of avant- to- melodic jazz wonderings, various knocks & chirps, stop-start sometimes comic percussion runs, moody cinematic string swoons, and electro texturing.

The fourth track “Le Preuve Par Grand Huit” & the  bonus track “Le Preuve Par Grand Huit, one year later”- are a dizzy & unbalancing blend of different orchestrated musical tangents, junk like percussion, sudden electro builds, string picks,  dramatic piano wonders, warbling voices,  loose easy listening trails,  avant jazz runs, etc- it feels like a wonderful & strange dense sonic freefall.


À Travail Égal Salaire Égal is a wonderful unpredictable & playful dense record, that quite often throws musical sense & structure to the wind- all to create a work that will equal puzzle & challenge even after many plays. Let's hope Klanggalerie has got more Un Drame Musical Instantané reissues planed for the future.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Roger Batty
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