Nom de Code: Sacha

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More than an EP in terms of contents and conception, Nom de Code: Sacha makes a very short LP at 27-and-a-half minutes. An original soundtrack for a film by Thierry Jousse, this album showcases once more the decadent side of Philippe Katerine. A mixture of avant-lounge and oblique chanson, it features guitarist Noel Akchote, pianist Benoît Delbecq, organist Charlie O., and drummer Erick Borelva in two key tracks: "Appelle-Moi Samantha" and "Monologue Sacha." Delbecq appears alone in two more. Katerine accompanies himself and actress/singer Margot Abascal in the other pieces. "Monologue Sacha" is a raucous group improvisation, while "Appelle-Moi Samantha" is the stand-out song, actually one of the only songs that sounds complete -- not that sketches like "Chimpanzés" or "Gare Montparnasse" don't have their charm. A couple of cuts appear to be taken from rehearsals (the first version of "Parlez-Vous Anglais?") or have been spontaneously recorded on the street ("Qu'est-Ce Que Je Peux Faire?"), but on second listen, it is obvious that they were carefully staged. Nom de Code: Sacha belongs with Katerine's stranger albums, not that it is difficult to grasp, but while making a lot of sense as a whole work it delivers less than one would expect.

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