02. Triphrons (9:58)
03. La Tuna (5:24)
04. Cache-Cash (4:23)
05. Arsenic (& Vielles Dentelles) (8:51)
06. Rondes de Nuit (7:43)
Recorded live at the discotheque « La Folie » (Annecy) on 30 October 1986.
Mixed at Studio Dagobert from 14 to 15 November 1986.
- François Dumont d'Ayot / saxophone, flute
- Philippe Villiot / violin
- Nathanaël Veyrat / bass
- Olivier Lamorthe / piano, synthesizer
- Christophe Torion / drums
It's a real shame Anamorphose have never released a proper studio album, the only recording available from this french group is this live performance, which took place in October 1986. Although you can definitely feel the tremendous energies coming out of these guys, and aside from the audience clapping at the end of each song, it's hard to notice this was recorded live. The production and recording is surprisingly clear and fresh, and the performance is near flawless, indicating that those guys were playing together quite a lot or they are simply professional. The line up includes bass and drums, violin, sax, flute, piano and keys. Nope no guitars this time to interfere with their smooth sound, but don't get the wrong picture here, guitar or no guitar this one really cooks! It's one of those albums when you don't miss or don't need any guitars. The band began playing together in 1982 when François Dumont d'Ayot met Olivier Lamorthe in a jazz concert he played in, and decided to play more creative sort of music with asymetric rythms. In 1988 when Philippe Villiot left, they were reduced to a quartet, playing together for a few years until teaming up with guitarist Eric Minen, Anamorphose finally disbanded for good in 1997, leaving us with only this live recording.
The music is mainly instrumental Jazz Rock Fusion but not the bla bla kind, there's no pointless endless soloing, and the songs doesn't sound the same, something that happens a lot in this genre. Each song is built around one or two ideas, which is being explored and improvised on. The performance by each member is simply stellar. Nathanaël Veyrat is a very competent bass player, he delivers some excellent workouts and can be quite funky at times. François Dumont and Philippe Villiot are maybe the most dominant members, playing the sax and violin respectively. They're playing most of the solos and deliver a dazzling performance, every one of them takes the spotlight when needed and lights up the place. I can't tell who's performance I like better and that's already a good thing, the sax has all kinds of moods from quiet jazzy playing to intense shrieking sounds, my favorite is when he goes into a playful mood and just swings like a cool cat. Same goes for the violin who simply smokes!! Olivier Lamorthe is handling the keys and piano and doing a spectacular job delivering cool jazzy keys and some inspiring piano runs. Of course it all wouldn't be perfect without a good drummer on board, Christophe Torion is very creative and handles the asymetric rhythms so easily, it's a pure joy listening to him. As I mentioned, this is not a soloing fest, there's a lot of playing beyond that which explores all kinds of ideas, melodies and themes and that's why it all sounds very varied and never tiring to listen to.
What makes this album so unique are all the spices added to the main dish, this is not just straight forward modern jazz improvisation, there are all kinds of influences mixed inside, the arabic/middle eastern flavour is popping out every now and then, and gives an extra zing to the music, there is also some traditional spanish influences that adds a lot of character to the overall sound. There are more flavours I detect but can't put my finger on them exactly. There are no weak songs or any weak moments through the entire album, it's all essentially constructed and carefully organized and played. I love how they control their rhythm, going from pastoral beautiful interludes to very intense jamming, where saxophone and violin are tossing the ball from one to the other. It's clear that these songs were carefully and precisely written, leaving every member the exact amount of space to shine and improvise as he pleases.
While there are many jazz rock fusion albums out there, I don't think anything sounds quite like Anamorphose, this is so unique and fresh that it quickly became one of my top albums in this genre. At first I thought rating it with 4 stars but repeated listenings for review purposes proved me that I can't find any flaws about this recording, and given the energetic performance, I can't rate it below 5. I must add a special thanks to François Dumont to which I've contact to get more info about the group, he was very kind to fill in the blanks and tell me his story. He has some more professional recordings of the band as he says, which I'll be glad to hear. So if you come across a copy, this would be a serious addition to your jazz rock fusion collection.