Sunday, August 14, 2016

Etron Fou Leloublan - 1984 - Les Sillons de la Terre

Etron Fou Leloublan 
Les Sillons de la Terre

01. Phare plafond (4:14)
02. Les vitres (4:47)
03. Les Alsaciennes (1:59)
04. Nouveau (4:14)
05. L'enfance de Guigou (6:08)
06. Emoi (4:08)
07. C'est pas bien (4:00)
08. Et qu'cet air-là (2:54)
09. Lavabo (5:09)
10. Le jeu, l'alcool et les femmes (3:45)

- Bruno Mellier / Alto, Tenor, Baryton saxes
- Ferdinand Richard / bass, vocal
- Jo Thirion / organ, vocal
- Guigou Chenevier / drum, tenor sax, vocal

EFL studio album number 4 saw the arrival of saxophonist number 4 into the camp - on this occasion Bruno Meillier joined the core trio of Ferdinand Richard, Guigou Chenevier and Jo Thirion. As on their previous outing shorter pieces were the the order of the day, although this time there was a greater emphasis on instrumentals and the vocals were generally more low key.
The album opens with a classic piece of EFL lunacy in Phare Plafond, which features a splendid vocal by Jo Thirion. From here on the album combines the familiar EFL elements - Beefheart rhythms, free jazz stylings, surreal lyrics - with some new developments. Guigou Chenevier plays more sax this time around, usually duetting with Meillier, and in places the drums are completely absent. EFL always had admirably democratic working practices; they were never merely Richard and Chenevier plus hired hands, and this meant that each new member of the ever shifting line up added something of their own. On this album as always all 4 participants make significant contributions to the writing, arrangements and performances, and the result is as joyful a noise as ever with a more obvious jazz element than Les Poumons Gonfles. Jo Thirion's contributions on both keyboards and vocals are more assured, with the organ occasionally muscling past the sax to dominate the arrangements. Chenevier and Richard are as tight and unpredictable as ever, while Bruno Millier may be the most accomplished saxophonist they worked with. There isn't a weak track on the album, but the standout is the 6 minute L'enfance de Guigou, which is the most ambitious piece on the album and also one of EFL's best.

One of the twin peaks of EFL's career, Les Sillons de la Terre is perhaps a slightly darker piece of work than their previous release but their offbeat sense of humour remained intact and the playing was even tighter than ever. Like Les Poumons.. this will appeal to fans of SMM, The Muffins, early Soft Machine and Aksak Maboul.

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