With a couple shorter works with the original Un Drame Musical Instantane trio (Birge, Vitet, and Gorge) as well as some of the earliest longer works with the full Grand Orchestra du Drame, A Travail Egal Salaire Egal represents a new phase for this experimental improvisational group. "On Tourne" opens the record with lots of water sounds, clattering and clanging, and drones to create a cinematic soundscape. The other trio piece, "Pourquoi la Nuit?," offers lots of electronic buzzes and drones juxtaposed with acoustic instruments to create more odd textures. The orchestra pieces are some of Un Drame Musical Instantane's most exciting works, as the large cast, up to 16 musicians, provides Un Drame Musical Instantane with a much more varied pallet to work with. "Crimes Parfaits" throws in a lot of dialogue and sound effects, bits of plundered pop songs, and opera to create a surreal backdrop while the group veers from one mood to another. At times it resembles John Zorn's early schizophrenic records like Spillaine, as the sound jolts quickly from suspense to a relaxed New Orleans-styled jaunt to something else in less than a minute, though performed by a much larger group than Zorn's jazz combos. The last track, "La Preuve," relies less on the electronics, but is no less dynamic, sounding something like a French folk melody blended with classical music with some free-form jazz; one moment sounding sweet and warm and the next more dramatic. At one point the percussion section drowns everything in a thunder; at other parts the music devolves into free-form chaos before picking up the melody again. Both these works have a lot of emotional impact, and they both represent highly creative uses of the orchestral format from this avant-garde group.
À Travail Égal Salaire Égal Review
by Rolf Semprebon
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