Thursday, November 17, 2016

Moravagine - 1975 - Moravagine


01. Funky Seven 3:05
02. Andromede 15:40
03. Culbuto 4:18
04. Ruhenol 6:44
05. Usted de poisson 2:06
06. Zabuco 5:55

Accordion – Jacques Ferschitt (tracks: A1)
Contrabass, Electric Bass – Jean-Marie Laumonnier
Drums – Jean-Philippe Lobrot
Flute [Ut, Mi Bémol, Sol, Piccolo] – Denis Barbier
Percussion – Mino Cinelu
Piano, Electric Piano [Fender], Keyboards [Violin Keyboards] – Olivier Hutman
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – Pierre-Jean Gidon

Recorded at Studio Palm, 20 & 21 December 1975

Typical french jazz-rock progressive in the mid-70s style, by this I mean featuring highly professional playing, progressive elements a la transit express, potemkine, speed limit, Noetra, Neo, etc., almost in the light magma-derivative style (but not zeuhl) perhaps like Joel Dugrenot or L. Thibeault. Every song features instrumental flute melodic jazz, sometimes more overtly american styled as in the Dave Brubeck-like song Culbuto, sometimes with the inevitable (for this time) hispanic influence as in usted de poisson, and as usual we hear quite a great deal of classical music education, I think particularly of the second track's piano opener, with its splashy piano solo full of scriabinesque atonality and waterfall notes.
On closer exam I'd go so far as to say this album is average compositionally, with the exception of the long first-side track where we take a musical trip to galaxy Andromeda (or constellation andromeda?). Starting with the aforementioned piano intro we hear a wonderfully unusual flute melody in E minor which transcends oddly into different keys, throwing in an unexpected F natural, evoking obviously the spacey aspects. We progress to a very interesting acoustic bass solo (they don't usually get very interesting) before moving into more composed chord changes, modulations, reminding me of the long track on Abraxis (Valse de la mort) before a flute and oboe serial melody closes out the space trip.
I hope you enjoy this completely lost slice of french music. I take it the name, in case you're wondering, comes from an early 20th century novel by Blaise Cendrars. Anyone who read the book who reads this, please comment. Here is the amazon review:

"At once truly appalling and appallingly funny, Blaise Cendrars's Moravagine bears comparison with Naked Lunch—except that it's a lot more entertaining to read. Heir to an immense aristocratic fortune, mental and physical mutant Moravagine is a monster, a man in pursuit of a theorem that will justify his every desire. Released from a hospital for the criminally insane by his starstruck psychiatrist (the narrator of the book), who foresees a companionship in crime that will also be an unprecedented scientific collaboration, Moravagine travels from Moscow to San Antonio to deepest Amazonia, engaged in schemes and scams as, among other things, terrorist, speculator, gold prospector, and pilot. He also enjoys a busy sideline in rape and murder. At last, the two friends return to Europe—just in time for World War I, when "the whole world was doing a Moravagine.'"

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