News from the Front

Marc Ducret

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News from the Front Review

by Thom Jurek

As auteur Stefan Winter finally gets around to re-releasing his back catalog (his JMT sides were issued in the U.S. during the 1990s and distributed by Polygram, but sadly are no longer), certain forgotten gems creep to the surface. This set by guitarist Marc Ducret is just such an item. Trumpet and flügelhorn boss Herb Robertson, trombonist Yves Robert, and percussionist (organic and drum machine) François Verly join with Ducret to play through a series of loose, wiry compositions by the guitarist where harmonic and dissonant interplay are given weight and equal consideration with textural, dynamic, and spacious elements that are structured, tempered, and finally juxtaposed. Ducret plays both electric and acoustic guitars on these knotty sides, and his melodic sensibility is here more evident and striated than anywhere else in his catalog. The beautiful "Can I Call You Wren?" features strummed acoustics and edgy electrics, which are layered on top of a drum machine and dissimilar contrapuntal melodies by Robertson and Verly. Or there's the swampy bottleneck intro on the title track that gives way to a minor-key investigation of short linear phrases that gradually open up onto an entire new harmonic precipice before exploding into an array of noise guitar and drums. These are just two examples of one of the most engaging recordings from his shelf. This is provocative music to be sure, but it is refined and restrained, elegant even.

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