Etage 34

Etage 34 + Tenko

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The Densités Festival (Fresnes) had invited the Japanese experimental vocalist Tenko and the French noise rock trio Etage 34 to perform together. The concert happened on October 25, 2003, and two days later the four musicians entered the CCAM studio for a two-day recording session with engineer François Dietz. The result is Etage 34's most vital release to date, and one of Tenko's best releases in a long while. They were truly made for each other, even though Etage 34's raw approach to rock improv may surprise more than a few fans of Tenko. The singer has accustomed us to slightly more polished or refined material, but Dominique Répécaud's jerky noise guitar, Olivier Paquotte's relentless overdriven bass riffs, and Daniel Koskowitz's sledgehammer Krautrock rhythms have brought out the animal in her. The ten tracks, one-and-a-half to seven minutes in duration, are split evenly across two loose suites, the first one credited to Tenko, the second to Koskowitz. The first suite is the most satisfactory. Condensed and powerful, the opener "D" delivers a 100-second summary of what is to follow. Then "De" takes a relatively softer stance to build up, in the next three tracks, a momentum over Paquotte's thundering basslines. Koskowitz' pieces are heavier and more brutal; Répécaud's noise guitar occupies more room, and Tenko seems to have some difficulties finding her place in the mix (in "Ensités," she resorts to vocal overdubs in order to compete with the level of decibels emanating from the trio). The album loses some of its steam toward the end, but by then, the collaboration has already been proven successful.

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