Soixante Etages


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No one actually expected the collective free improv/rock group Soixante Étages to deliver a new album, not five years after the 1997 CD De Sa Bouche de Loup (and the fact is, side projects like Étage 34 and le Complexe de la Viande eclipsed the lights of the mothership). In late 2001, guitarist Dominique Répécaud gathered a big ensemble -- nine musicians, 11 on "Citsou" -- for a new studio session. ASBL splits in three parts. First up are four tracks of raucous free rock. Dominated by Répécaud, Olivier Paquotte (bass), Daniel Koskowitz (drums), Bruno Fleurance (the meanest accordion), and Laurent Dailleau (theremin), they also feature vocals in the form of spontaneous recitations of Allen Ginsberg and Captain Beefheart. "Segoots" is delightfully devious and trashy. Behind the rockers are four electronicians hard at work polluting and transforming the sonic magma: Mathieu Chamagne, Franck Collot, Jérôme Noetinger, and Lionel Marchetti (the latter two using esoteric electro-acoustic devices). Each of them "composed" one of the next four tracks. They crackle and bristle, tearing down any rock pretensions remaining in the fingers of the other players. Listeners are now in electro-acoustic free improv, far from regular Soixante Étages territory. These two sides of the group don't coexist very well; they give the album a strong feeling of discontinuity, but they would have made good separate EPs. The last track, "Blondix," is an extensive remix of "Blonde" from the group's 1992 CD, Beaux Soirs de Paris.