Ame Son

Catalyse

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Several French prog bands from the early '70s cross-pollinated free jazz with psychedelic music, but Ame Son were one of the earliest and finest, especially on their full-length Catalyse, released in 1970 on the legendary avant jazz label BYG. Comparisons with Gong are appropriate since a couple members of Ame Son toured with Daevid Allen prior to his forming Gong. Many tracks begin in an avant free-form jam that eventually develops into more structured song and rhythm, with lyrics in either French or English, and then slips back into another wild free-form freak-out. In fact, each of the six tracks from the album are actually two or three pieces that are segued seamlessly together. Prominent flute, drugged-out vocals, and fuzzed-up electric guitar lend this a definite late-'60s underground vibe, though because of the originality of the material and the quality of musicianship, it doesn't sound dated like similar releases from that era, especially on tracks like "Seventh Time Key/I Just Want to Say" and "Hein Quant a Toi/Etc.," with their driving rhythms. Straddling the transition between psychedelia and progressive by way of avant jazz and Gong-like space rock, Ame Son has created a masterpiece.

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