Jean-Jacques Birgé & Hélène Sage - Rendez- vous [ KlangGalerie - 2019]Sometimes you really can't’ judge an album by its cover- take Rendez- vous- it’s decidedly cheesy cover of a jumper wearing women & smiling breaded man sitting on green grass, may suggest some form of bland romantic folk collaboration. But in reality there’s nothing cosy, twee, or warningly lulling here- instead you get an unpredictable & wonderfully weird slice avant-garde composition, that moves between off-kilter blends of horn & electronics jarring electro-acoustics, squealing- yet playful avant jazz & electro funk crosses, weird & surreal ambience, cartoon-like impro, odd theatricals, and beyond.
The album was originally recorded back in 1981, but was never released- so this recent CD issue on KlangGalerie it’s first ever pressing. The seven track & sixty-one-minute album brings together French composer and improvise Jean-Jacques Birgé- most know for his work with the truly unclassifiable Un Drame Musical Instantané collective. And French performance artists & improviser Hélène Sage. Each player uses a wide & often crazed sonic pallet taking in synths, organs, horn & stringed interments, kettles, rainsticks, weird field recordings, electronics, and the human voice.
The seven tracks each run between three & seventeen minutes apiece, and really the whole record is like a crazed sonic chocolate box- as the pair dart over the place- both sonically & genre-wise, but also with intent going from Dada & playful, though to grooving & unbalanced, onto creepy & puzzling, onto manic & deranged, through to off-kilter theatrical & showy. It really is an album that you never know what’s around the next sonic coroner.
So if you’re in the mood for an album that will equally puzzle, amuse & challenge - then Rendez- vous will certainly do the job. It’s great to see KlangGalerie releasing these sonic oddities from the past, and especially when they’ve never been released before- here's looking forward to some more releases in a similar vein from the label. Roger Batty