Patrick Gauthier — Clinamens
(Arcangelo RC-1168, 2016, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2017-09-12
French keyboardist Patrick Gauthier is not one to flood the market with product, and when he does release something new, it’s always worthy of note. A former member of Schizo, Heldon, Magma, and more importantly, Weidorje, he has only released four albums since 1981 (although he has contributed to many), and Clinamens is probably his most impressive endeavor to date. Across the ten tracks at hand, Gauthier’s compositions superbly fall within the spirit of the zeuhl sound, but his arrangements are far more skeletal instrumentally (on nine of the cuts, the only instrument is piano), whereas the haunting and cascading mostly wordless vocal arrangements (handled most capably by Antoine and Himiko Paganotti) are what really make this material here stand out. The voice parts overlay and intertwine, like a complex fabric brilliantly twisting around and crossing over the basic melodies and percussion of Gauthier’s piano, sometimes soft and gentle, sometimes more punctuative, and like all good zeuhl, repitition is important; the effect is almost magical. Three of the cuts do have lyrics, and on two of those (“Nathalie C.” and L’Oiseau”) the addition of third singer Isabelle Carpentier ratchets up the shiver factor even more. Some may remember the Weidorje track “Vilna” (it’s one of three cuts on the original LP), and Gauthier presents a fresh new version of that piece here, with a arrangement compatible with the rest of the pieces, with none other than bassist Bernard Paganotti (who played on the original) joining in. The disc closes with a solo piano version of “Sur un Marche Persan,” a vocal track presented in the number four spot. In summary, this is mighty powerful music, beginning to end, and every fan of the zeuhl style should have this.
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more