Even though Gazul Records' Les Zut-O-Pistes collection lacks cruelly in the design department, Ghédalia Tazartès gets the royal sonic treatment on this reissue of Check Point Charlie, his seminal 1990 album. Excellent remastering and two strong (albeit very short) bonus tracks make this a good place to start in the man's elusive discography. Check Point Charlie is a collage journey where Tazartès pulls out all the stops to captivate and confuse the listener: street recordings, pseudo-enticing dialogues, sampled instruments, real instruments, rapid-fire splices, and that uncanny voice of his reciting, yodeling, screaming, digging into your skull. "Traces de Coups" and "La Mort de Berchou," both 15 minutes long, are the strongest compositions, full of bold episodes of musique concrète, impromptu songs at the accordion, and odd assemblages that only (barely) begin to make sense after the third or fourth listen. In "Charlie's Retire," Tazartès uses snippets and loops from an absurd dialogue he recorded with a young woman, peppering the final cut with "bloopers," thus playing on both levels (the fiction and the creation of the fiction) at the same time. "Le Dernier Concert" is somewhat less cohesive or striking, without actually lessening the quality of the album as a whole. The four main pieces were recorded between 1988 and 1990. The two bonus tracks inserted into the original track list are from 2005. Tazartès' music is a blend between Luc Ferrari's musique concrète, Etron Fou Leloublan's early epics, and Edward Ka-Spel's collages.
AllMusic Review by François Couture