L' Événements

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Bucketrider's fourth album sees the group exploring different grounds than on their previous two releases. The first two and last two pieces are comparable to the best moments on Le Baphomet: riveting microtonal bass riffs, funky horn licks, rollicking drums. On that chapter, "Testiana" and the lugubrious "Brian Mannix" deserve a place in the group's live sets for decades to come -- the latter's bass part may be the meanest riff David Brown has committed to record yet. Book-ended by these pieces penned by Brown and Tim O'Dwyer is the long 12-part title work. A tribute to the French events of May and June 1968, which revealed the deep social malaise underlying Charles de Gaulle's France, "L'événements" is a rather loose suite of scored minimalist pieces, structured free improvisations, and entirely silent tracks ("Événement 2: Anarchisme," for instance). Composed by O'Dwyer, the work eschews the group's rhythmic drive in favor of alternately more serious and noisier leanings. Highlights include the quiet repetitive motive in "Événement 3," first stated on a toy piano before being picked up by the whole band (this section is strongly reminiscent of the main theme in the Spontaneous Music Ensemble's 1966-1967 piece "Withdrawal"), and a Brown solo developing into a introspective trio section of acoustic bass, soprano sax and synthesizer (played by guest Philip Samartzis). But taken as a whole, and despite its political overtones (and glaring French misspellings notwithstanding), the suite lacks compositional depth. It may work better on-stage, where its contrasting sections would be more vivid. Luckily, its weaknesses are counterbalanced by the force of impact of the other four pieces.

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