Chene Noir

Aurora

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    9
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AllMusic Review by

A strange ritualistic concoction of bamboo flutes and bongos and gongs improvised to moans and French spoken word. At times, like early in "Arrivee," the sound is almost ambient, just a single flute droning over the distant rumble of drums. "La Vieillesse et la Mort," on the other hand, cuts loose on a wild improvisation while a woman screams and howls and the horns kick up a squall. Over a somber backdrop of flute and drums, the woman's voice becomes more and more possessed on "Le Conte de la Terre," until the sax and trumpet erupt again. Though Chene Noir is a theatrical performance company, on this disc they are firmly entrenched in the avant-garde with tracks that lack any sort of song structure, but instead offer slow, free-form buildups to wild outbursts of raw emotion, or slower soundscapes of bleakness and beauty, often with long instrumental sections, like the lone saxophone lament of "Vivre," which closes the album. Aurora is one strange trip, even without the visual performance that accompanied it when first performed.

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