Ignoble Vermine

Ignoble Vermine: A Tribute to Ptôse

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An obscure alternative pop group that released three LPs in the mid-'80s, Ptôse was France's answer to the Residents (with a unique yet resolutely French electro-pop touch, in the spirit of Plastic Bertrand and Ludwig von 88). About to reissue the group's catalog on CD, Musea's avant-garde subsidiary Gazul released Ignoble Vermine, a very entertaining tribute album bringing together a host of artists who are seriously not taking themselves too seriously. Ranging from ironic '80s pop to mechanical instrumentation, from dark avant rock to impossibly cheerful demento pop, the contributions show how pernicious Ptôse's influence was on the French underground. The lineup will be familiar to the label's followers and includes Klimperei, Toupidek Limonade, Dragibus, Palo Alto, Pierre Bastien, and a handful of surprises, including Beta-Lactam Ring recording artist La Société des Timides à la Parade des Oiseaux and the off-kilter techno duo Les Hauts de Plafonds. Ptôse's catalog being slightly thin, some favorite songs appear more than once, although no two versions of the same song sound remotely alike. Bosco turn "Boule (Viens Ici)!" into the dancefloor hit it never was, La STPO give "The Bogyman" a very spooky rendition, and NORSCQ take extreme liberties with "Cartilages et Os Longs," while the Non Finito Orchestra deliver a marvelously awful "Ptôse-pourri" (in other words, a medley). The levels of musicianship and creativity stay generally well above Ptôse's, which is an excellent way to bring new life to this "ignominious vermin."

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