LIONEL MARCHETTI / JEAN-BAPTISTE FAVORY – 100.000 Années

Monotype

An excellent double CD from about three years ago, just recently scanned in depth. A pair of independent works, not a collaboration; each participant is represented by his own opus.

Disc 1 contains an extensive piece by Marchetti – “Kitnabudja Town” – formerly published (in dissimilar structure, and under the name Roger De La Frayssenet) on Metamkine in 1995. At that time dedicated to his Corsican grandfather Antoine and future artistic partner Jérôme Noetinger, this might be called a contemporary radio drama with a pinch of field recordings thrown in for good measure. Maybe. There are episodes where things appear deceitfully illogical – at times hilarious – with a definite feel of pre-planned disorder. Accelerated tapes transforming melodic singers into munchkins are alternated with long stretches of conversation (mostly in French, but not exclusively), dramatic fragments of theatre and raucous outbursts of music from different eras, genres and continents (I had almost forgotten Paul Hardcastle’s “19”…). Highlights are created by combining a muffled type of poignancy – anonymous arias from Mediterranean/Arab regions joined by disturbing resonances from the ether, for example – with the in-your-face qualities of local disco and rap acts (James Brown’s “Sex Machine” and Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World” also emerge briefly, for that matter). A truly hard-to-depict hotchpotch, made of millions of voices, snippets and spontaneous (?) associations. The composer definitely knew how to use the available tools and sources; we remained alert and satisfied throughout.

The second item is a 51-minute effort by Jean-Baptiste Favory: a less known but certainly not unworthy artist, and an opening meeting for yours truly. “Des Sphères” is a yang to Marchetti’s yin (or vice versa, according to fanciful points of view). This means that the sonic substance is calmer, inspiring visions of vastness while keeping the listener reasonably unperturbed. Slowly spreading textures dominated by low-range electronic frequencies swell across bubbling liquids and infinitesimal formations whose contribution to the overall scenario becomes appreciable only via headphone listening. With the passage of the minutes the picture changes slightly, introducing components of moderate interference and modulation of synthetic fonts, yet the initial semi-static foundation continues until the end. A connection with early Tangerine Dream – perhaps with a mild Jon Hassell fragrance at some point – would not look entirely out of place, the near-psychedelic fumes released by the simmering pot carrying our memory back of several decades. Ultimately, the lingering sensation is that of bathing in astral fluids, and feeling better after having cleansed the intellect. Appreciators of the most comforting milieus generated by Roland Kayn and Harley Gaber should have no problems in finding pleasure by tasting this.

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