Birgé Gorgé Shiroc

Défense De [Expanded Reissue]

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Défense De was recorded by two-thirds of the French conceptual group Un Drame Musical Instantané, roughly one year before its inception. The sound world of keyboardist Jean-Jacques Birgé and guitarist Francis Gorgé was still in its infancy, but the primordial soup featured in these recordings is furiously bubbling. It is filled with ideas that have yet to be fully formed but are nevertheless intriguing and exciting. The original LP (released on Birgé's own imprint GRRR in 1975) consisted of four improvised pieces, the titles of which, together with the album's title, spelled out the sentence "Défense de crever la bulle opprimante, le réveil pourrait être brutal," which translates to "Do not burst the oppressing bubble, the awakening could be brutal." The music, multi-layered, consists of prepared guitars, various synthesizers and electric keyboards, toys, objects, and percussion. The duo met the drummer, Shiroc, just prior to recording this session and he appears on two of the four tracks. Saxophonist Antoine Duvernet and pianist Jean Louis Bucchi also make appearances. The music has a distinctive '70s feel, but bears little resemblance to the commonly known forms of free improvisation of that era. It often sounds like Tangerine Dream jamming with members of the London Musicians' Collective, with a touch of French humor only fans of Etron Fou Leloublan could imagine. The reissue released by MIO Records in 2003 is incredibly generous. To the original 45 minutes or so, the CD contains 30 minutes of bonus material taken from the same studio sessions. But that's not all. The CD is packaged with a DVD presenting six more hours of material. Most of it consists of home and live recordings by the trio, prior to the studio session with Shiroc. Even though some more judicious editing would have been welcome, the level of quality of these "June Sessions" is compelling. Fans of Un Drame Musical Instantané will be pleased by these invaluable documents. The DVD also includes La Nuit du Phoque (Night of the Seal), a 41-minute experimental film from 1974 by Birgé and Bernard Mollerat, profoundly strange and Dadaist (think Eraserhead with frontal nudity and the oddest sense of humor).