Exposé Online banner

Lard Free — Gilbert Artman's Lard Free
(Spalax 14225, 1973/1994, CD)

Lard Free — I'm Around About Midnight
(Spalax 14221, 1975/1993, CD)

Lard Free — Lard Free (III)
(Spalax 14224, 1977/1993, CD)

by Mike McLatchey, Published 1994-10-01

Gilbert Artman's Lard Free Cover artI'm Around About Midnight Cover artLard Free (III) Cover art

Artman's Lard Free project has received considerable amount of documentation in progressive periodicals, so I won't bore you with the details. Here's a quick overview; all are essential listens — innovative and groundbreaking. The debut from 1973 is a hybrid of styles finding its base in the more experimental fusion of Miles Davis (Agharta etc.) Of course that’s only the very base; the addition of electronics make this album much more unique. The Moog sounds are bizarre, disjointed, and wonderful with an overwhelming resemblance to Pinhas and Heldon. The music varies from cool jazz to more raucous fusion with Hendrix/McLaughlin like guitar soloing from Francois Mativet. In fact, its his guitar playing — from over the top Ax Genrich like psychedelia to laid back blues rock riffing that stands out. This album is an innovative and unusual blending of musics — a veritable 20th century exploration of jazz fusion.

Four years later, with Artman's second Lard Free attempt — you have Pinhas aboard and his influence is strong. I'm Around About Midnight exerts a much more industrial and electronic sound, yet remains diverse from the tribal like beginning (remarkably similar to the "techno tribal" artists now) through soft and sinister sequences of bleak and minimalist buzzing electronics to the stormy piano that end the album on a somber note. Certainly innovative, yet less of an immediate impact, due to its laid back gentle nature.

The final Lard Free album is very different from both of the above and was recorded after Artman had started his Urban Sax project. The sound here is harsher and more industrial — the side long "Spirale Malax" is a heavily effected track of Pinhas like guitar (although Pinhas was not on this one) and moaning mechanical metallic like synths. The second side is less intense although no less urban and bleak. I hear Heldon, a little early Tangerine Dream (Zeit) and other industrial musics. This is adventurous and intellectual music for the cerebral mood — its definitely not for tea-time. Honestly, this music probably won't appeal too much to the average sympho-prog fan. These albums are of a highly experimental nature, and while sonically brilliant, they are often emotionally void with a dehumanized and robotic sound. In summary, though, these albums truly define the word "progressive" and are highly recommended to musical explorers.


Filed under: Reissues, Issue 5, 1994 releases, 1973 recordings, 1993 releases, 1975 recordings, 1977 recordings

Related artist(s): Richard Pinhas, Lard Free

Latest news

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Richard Johnson and Jud Martindale - Creatures of Habit – For those interested with tracking down the roots of master acoustic fret bender, Richard Leo Johnson, look no further! Uncovered from the independent release catacombs is a 1993 gem from Johnson and...  (2000) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues