Patrick Gauthier — Clinamens
(Arcangelo RC-1168, 2016, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2017-09-12
French keyboardist Patrick Gauthier is not one to flood the market with product, and when he does release something new, it’s always worthy of note. A former member of Schizo, Heldon, Magma, and more importantly, Weidorje, he has only released four albums since 1981 (although he has contributed to many), and Clinamens is probably his most impressive endeavor to date. Across the ten tracks at hand, Gauthier’s compositions superbly fall within the spirit of the zeuhl sound, but his arrangements are far more skeletal instrumentally (on nine of the cuts, the only instrument is piano), whereas the haunting and cascading mostly wordless vocal arrangements (handled most capably by Antoine and Himiko Paganotti) are what really make this material here stand out. The voice parts overlay and intertwine, like a complex fabric brilliantly twisting around and crossing over the basic melodies and percussion of Gauthier’s piano, sometimes soft and gentle, sometimes more punctuative, and like all good zeuhl, repitition is important; the effect is almost magical. Three of the cuts do have lyrics, and on two of those (“Nathalie C.” and L’Oiseau”) the addition of third singer Isabelle Carpentier ratchets up the shiver factor even more. Some may remember the Weidorje track “Vilna” (it’s one of three cuts on the original LP), and Gauthier presents a fresh new version of that piece here, with a arrangement compatible with the rest of the pieces, with none other than bassist Bernard Paganotti (who played on the original) joining in. The disc closes with a solo piano version of “Sur un Marche Persan,” a vocal track presented in the number four spot. In summary, this is mighty powerful music, beginning to end, and every fan of the zeuhl style should have this.
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
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more