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.
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more