Sunday, February 14, 2016

Jean Guerin - 1971 - Tacet

Jean Guerin

01. Triptik 2 (5:42)
02. Mixage Vert (3:49)
03. Maochat (4:40)
04. Ca Va Lecomte (4:52)
05. BM 37 (1:57)
06. Interminable Hommage À Zaza (4:41)
07. Reflexion 2(5:06)
08. Gaub 71 (8:17)rics

- Jean Guérin / electronics, bass, drums and effects
- Bernard Vitet / Trumpet
- Dieter Guévissler / Double bass
- Jean Paul Rondepierre / Trumpet
- Françoise Achard / Vocals

Founder member of the legendary heavy-acid jazzy collective Ergo Sum, Jean Guérin is a multi-instrumentalist and composer from France. In a relative discretion he published one in solo back in the early 1970. The musical identity is a subtle and original medley of blissed out droning electronica, avant-garde jazz, bizarre cinematic ambiences and electroacoustic experiments. Tacet (1970) has been recently reissued on CD by Elica. Continuously surprising and incorporating a handful of challenging ideas, this release is an absolute must.

This is genuine progressive music in the truest sense of the word. Jean Guérin is a late addition to Prog Archives, and to those of you who feel well-versed in the early French avant-garde scene, I employ you to take a closer look at this marvellous record from 1971. The music here is forerunner to a lot of stuff, pre-dating the whole RIO movement by over a half decade. Originally this was meant for a movie soundtrack, but I honestly think this music deserves to be appreciated in full force - without the add on of moving images. I actually think that would be dangerous, when you are facing this amount of sonic stimuli.

This is Faust at their most electronic experimental, Art Zoyd from the 80s, Flamen Dialis and the Mwandishi band without the groove. Through a strange concoction of trumpet, saxophone, various early synthesizers, double bass, hand drums the odd whispering operatic vocals and bizarre sound effects - Tacet takes you under its wing and dives straight into the unknown. It's highly surreal and wonderfully futuristic. Fumbling around a dark room that measures 4 football fields of "empty" space, it relentlessly comes and goes in pulsating waves of squeaking synth reverberations and nervous brass instruments.

The closest you'll come to this artist sound-wise is probably Igor Wakhévitch, although Guérin incorporates a warmer and jazzier feel. The electronics here sound like birds wandering around picking at the ground in rhythmic sequences. All around these you have the strange embryonic free jazz spectacle of instruments trying to find their way into the beat. Beating around the bush is exactly what this is, now that I think of it! Tireless instruments walking around in a dense fog, now and again giving off the odd sound or trace - as if to say: I'm right here you guys! Swirling around each other like blinded flocks of birds approaching each other like a subtracting vortex of sound - the music somehow comes together to create some of the most original music I have heard in a long while.

This is also a strange strange album, or did I already mention that? Before venturing into a short-lived solo career Guérin was actually a drummer. Bizarrely Tacet has next to nothing gluing it together in terms of rhythms. When they finally decide to appear - they shoot up in the music like muffled bean sprouts - stirring around the sonic motifs rather reluctantly. Other times they work like menacing off- kilter spices on which the ghastly synth shadows perform ritualistic dances of death and darkness. This is what I'd call confused beauty.

If you like your music to sound like it was recorded in a damp cave with dripping water as your sonic wallpaper - oozing around the actual musical content and simultaneously scaring the hell out of your girlfriend, then this album is for you. Most definitely! The watery sound effects as well as these cavernous deep belching droplets of hard hitting fluid - together form an evocative surface on which the shifting moods of jazz play themselves up against. Some tracks here are in fact nothing more than these background effects, and here they are really far away from being just that. Suddenly they grow out of their modulated roles - effervescently transforming into genuine atmospheric music that is unfathomable yet feels so real and compact, that you start wondering whether you can touch it with your bare hands. It's like the middle piece of Pink Floyd's Echoes heavily distorted and highlighted all at the same time.

Tacet is recommended to anyone with but the slightest interest in any of the aforementioned acts, and if you are one of those who investigates the true nature of the early progressive movement and how everything wound up in one big blurry swamp of experimentation - you'll certainly want to check this one out. This is easily one of the most successful true avant-garde releases I have heard in a long time. It throws you into a huge bubble of surrealism where everything is blurry, warped and confusingly beautiful.



  2. Thank you for this! You may want to add your "NWW List" tag to it, because Guerin is there. Your blog is tremendous!!

  3. Thank you for this! You may want to add your "NWW List" tag to the post, as Guerin is there. Your blog is tremendous!!