Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Fantasmagories – Camille Sauvage

Three days ago this was The Greatest Album Ever Made. It may still be that. Brilliant music should evoke such claims, right? But time often cools the white heat of wild enthusiasm and so, in a level-headed manner, I shall simply say that, yes, this is fantastique. And you know I wouldn’t tip you off about any old rubbish that happens to tickle my fancy.
   There are plenty of blogs that can satiate someone’s thirst for library music, much of it really being little more than incidental sounds, as they were designed to be. That said, there’s a place for incidental, background material. I’d rather listen to the poorest KPM LP, like ‘Music To Decorate By’ (it probably does exist), than most modern music. Funky library sounds are popular, but digging deeper there are more interesting records than those, and this is one.
   The release date is 1970, as far as I can tell, and Camille Sauvage created 12 complex mini masterpieces on the phantasmagorical theme. I don’t know what came over him...a fit of absolute inspiration, it seems, judging by the other work of his I’ve heard, most of which seems to be pretty average jazz/Easy orchestral stuff.
   There’s a jazzy element to all this, but it’s so skewed as to render the term meaningless. Yes, there’s a vibraphone, horn section, double bass, and even some finger-snapping on ‘Enferissimo’, but as much as a certain brand of Exotica is implied, so too is the inventive play of, say, the Art Ensemble of Chicago. This is far from ‘Free Jazz’, though, being very tightly arranged, which is part of its brilliance. There’s a hint of Satanic noir jazz about ‘Rhapsodie Pour Belphegor’, and ‘Magma’ also suggests swinging big band Jazz, but the jaw harp, use of vibes and generally leftfield sound ensures that it strays far from the generic.
   Various percussion instruments play a major part, punctuating, adding intricate patterns, especially on ‘Musique De L’Au-Dela’, which features some remarkable drumming. Take this track and play it to a Free Jazz fan and they’d think they were listening to the Art Ensemble, who spent some time in Paris, so perhaps Sauvage was listening. But as with all distinctive music, it’s not easy to pinpoint the influences.
   Listen hear and marvel.

1 comment:

  1. Satanic Noir Jazz! I wish that was more of a thing. Been digging around for horror-themed libary music this morning, so been grooving on this one all afternoon! Thanks for posting!


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