Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Barney Wilen - 1973 - Moshi

Barney Wilen 

01. Moshi   
02. Guilde's Song To Binkirri   
03. Gardenia Devil   
04. 14 Temps   
05. Bamako Koulikaro   
06. Afrika Freak Out   
07. Zombizar   
08. El Hadji   
09. Chechaoun   
10. Tindi Abalessa   
11. El Hadji   
12. Balandji In Bobo   
13. Sannu Ne Gheinyo   
14. El Hadji   

Bass – Christian Tritsh, Simon Boissezon
Drums – Micheline Pelzer
Electric Guitar – Pierre Chaze
Electric Piano – Michel Graillier
Lute – Didier Léon
Saxophone [Tenor] – Barney Wilen
Vocals – Babeth Lamy, Caroline De Bendern, Laurence Apithi, Marva Broome

Completely bonkers mash up of afro to free jazz with field recordings and vocal harmonies - out there and all the better for it.Recommended.

In 1970 Barney Wilen assembled a team of filmmakers, technicians and musicians to travel to Africa for the purpose of recording the music of the native pygmy tribesupon returning to Paris two years later, he created Moshi, a dark, eccentric effort fusing avantjazz sensibilities with African rhythms, ambient sound effects and melodies rooted in American blues traditions. Cut with French and African players including guitarist Pierre Chaze, pianist Michel Graillier and percussionist Didier Leon, this is music with few precedents or followers, spanning from extraterrestrial dissonance to earthbound, streetlegal funk.Wilen pays little heed to conventional structure, assembling tracks like "Afrika Freak Out" and "Zombizar" from spare parts of indeterminate origins.Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide

A wild and groundbreaking record recorded by the great French tenor player Barney Wilen! Although he got his start as a bebopper in the 50's, Wilen sort of dropped out of sight by the end of the 60's and only emerged from time to time to cut strangely experimental sides. This record is unlike anything he ever made, and features a wild mix of African rhythms, ambient sound, and Wilen's deep deep tenor. By this point, Wilen had been absorbing a lot of different influences, from Coltrane, to Pharoah Sanders, to some of the European free players, and his sound is a weird mish mash of styles that weaves in and out of all the stuff on the record. It's a haunting bit of afro jazz and funky noise, with some cuts that are spacey, and others that are nice and funky. Dusty Groove.

During the fifties Wilen was in  great demand as a jazz saxophonist, playing with moguls like Miles Davis, Art Blakey and Thelonious Monk. Then in the sixties something must have happened. Probably he began taking drugs or had a kind of enlightment which led him musically into a more psychedlic direction culminating in albums like "Dear Prof.Leary" and "Moshi".
"Moshi" is recorded in 1973 and mainly the result of an africa trip in 1971. He might have recorded singings of africans their during his trip and used these recordings to put together a a kind of soundcollage, mixing orignally recorded african music and his funky, psychedelic jazz funk. On some of the tracks this works perfectly, for example on the title track (lasting more than 16 minutes) and on "Chechaoun".
But not all the songs (or sounds ?) work as good as the mentioned ones. Some of his collages are a bit directionless. They are more a pose, than interesting music. And I'm not sure, if his tries to make a pop song like "Zombizar" and "Gardenia devil" really convince me. But anyway, more than 30 minutes of nearly perfect psychedelic jazz funk. Very entertaining.


  1. http://filefactory.com/file/4g2v99d9hvdh/2720.rar

  2. This one is a classic...very similar to Embryo's "Rache" in its travelogue concept & execution, but earlier in date. Some female vocals a little reminiscent of Linda McCartney's don't really detract from the album's overall power, which is considerable. Far better than the silly "Dr. Leary" album anyway. Cheers!