Brigitte Fontaine / Areski

Je Ne Connais Pas Cet Homme

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Brigitte Fontaine, who started out sounding like a more adventurous version of Françoise Hardy, got steadily further out as the 1970s progressed. By the time of this recording, she was arguably too far out to even be categorized as a popular singer. Collaborating with songwriter Areski (who also takes some of the vocals, both alone and in partnership with Fontaine), this odd assortment of tracks includes pieces in which singsong lyrics are done a cappella or backed by nothing more than an instrument or two (not always guitar); dissonant avant-garde jazz miniatures that could serve as soundtrack material for suspense thrillers, occasionally overlaid with spoken poetry; and highly rhythmic cuts in which African drumming-like percussion patterns support Fontaine and Areski's experimental vocalizing, which can sound like bird noises or early New York "new music" exercises at times. It's not without its folky and melodic elements (particularly in some of Fontaine's singing), but it's tough listening, and not especially rewarding. This is due more to Areski's unattractively gruff and brusque vocals than Fontaine; to quote from the book of the jealous husband, he is not worthy of her. Confusingly, although the front of the sleeve bills this as a Fontaine album with the title Je Ne Connais Pas Cet Homme, the spine and back cover bill it to "Areski et Brigitte Fontaine," and the back cover gives the title Fontaine 4.

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