L'Ensemble Rayé — Quelques Pièces Détachées
(AYAA CDT 0993, 1993, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1994-08-01The core of L'Ensemble Rayé is Cédric Vuille (guitars, bass, clarinet, keys, ukelele, bandurria, percussion), Jean-20-Huguenin (guitars, mandolin) and Pierre Kaufmann (saxes, clarinets, piano, percussion), augmented by other musicians on guitars, drums, violin, saxes, bass and so on, with different groups of musicians featured on different tracks. Both Vuille and Huguenin were once members of the eccentric Swiss band Debile Menthol, who have several albums to their credit; Kaufmann once played with them as well. This is the second album by this group (the first was Même en Hiver/Comme un Pinson dans l'Eau from 1990). The sound is primarily acoustic based, tending to focus on short, quirky instrumental pieces with the guitar being by far the dominant instrument on many of the songs, with clarinet second in command. The music here is very unique - a pleasant mix of jazzy and classical styles of uncertain origin played with impeccable precision, often with idiosyncratic melodies and odd meter - thus easy comparisons are difficult, but the spirit of Albert Marcoeur, ZNR, Joel Dugrenot and others are alive and well within the writing style. The tracks are nearly split between 'solo' pieces like the positively amazing "Rag'n'râle" and "Phare EST" (both solos by Huguenin), and those involving the entire ensemble, like "Migrateurs," "Les Dons de Castor," and "Cheval Vapeur." Fourteen tracks in all. More than anything, though, this is a guitar album, a must-have for fans of the instrument. Like Fred Frith, Larry Coryell, Chet Atkins and many others, Huguenin and Vuille take the guitar to new heights while transcending many of the convenient classifications along the way, stretching its capabilities and illustrating it's potential. That alone makes this one of the best new albums I've heard yet this year, and will earn it a place next to other great great guitar albums in my collection.
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more