Exposé Online banner

Michel Ettori — Higher Life
(Musea MP 3022.AR, 1995, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1996-03-01

Higher Life Cover art

Some may remember Ettori's name from the lineup of the late 70s Magma spinoff Weidorje, he was the band's guitarist. He also appeared on follow-up albums by Jean-Philippe Goude and Patrick Gauthier, and also has some roots in Heldon, but from the early 80s onward little has been heard from him – a classic case of 'whatever happened to that guy, anyway?' In 1980, he became a follower of Sri Aurobindo, and left France to live in an experimental township near Pondichery (a French settlement in India), which is where most of the music for Higher Life was written. In late '86 he returned to France and recorded the music here with old friends Patrick Gauthier (keys) and Didier Batard (bass), but couldn't find a label willing to release it at that time. After this – due to other projects related to his work in India, Ettori gave up the guitar for over seven years, returning to the studio in '93 to record the two tracks that open and close this album. The music here is an instrumental acoustic based jazz-rock in the general style of folks like Al DiMeola, very technical and perfected, with an occasional Indian theme coming to the surface. Gauthier and Batard's roles are mostly supportive, though some nice keyboard solos make their way to the fore on several tunes. Those who are hoping for hints of his zeuhl days will be sadly disappointed, as there is nary a trace of that style on this album anywhere. Some of the tunes use sequenced electronic percussion, though most won't find their use objectionable, especially given the overwhelming dominance of Ettori's guitar. Some may enjoy this a lot – there is certainly much to recommend it, but there is a certain 'sameness' throughout that might give it limited shelf life over the long haul.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 9, 1995 releases

Related artist(s): Patrick Gauthier, Michel Ettori

Latest news

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music festival world, and music festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Matter - Matter – If you like quirky psychedelic guitar-rock drenched with Mellotron, read on... Matter is pretty much the two man project of Joe Albarran (Chapman Stick, bass, Mellotron and guitar) and Mike Madden...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues