Sunday, July 20, 2008

PHAT - La Grande Peste (Insubordinations, 2008) ***½

I'm not quite sure what subgenre of jazz PHAT brings, call it underground jazz, dark jazz or doom jazz. The point is that this young French band, with Fabien Duscombs on drums and percussions, Marc Perrenoud on bass and electric doublebass, and Heddy Boubaker on alto and bass saxophones, does not have the most optimist world view. The title itself gives already sufficient clarity about the tone and mood, "La Grande Peste", means "The Great Plague", and the titles of the tracks leave even less to the imagination, "Between The Titty And The Beer", "The Feast of The Cockroaches" or "The Great Purgatory Of Dead Porn Stars" (the last one being a contender for the title of the year award, but also the best track on the album). The music is jazz, with lots of rock and even punk influences, but then without being violent, aggressive or even angry. The overall mood is more one of anguish and gloom, despair and revulsion. You must like the genre to really appreciate the music, but even if you don't, you cannot but admire the unbelievable coherence of the approach, the energy and intensity, the focus and the uncompromising attitude of these three young musicians. They give what they have and they give it without restraint. The musicians are not bad either, Boubaker is a powerful saxophonist, Duscombs is unbelievably energetic and Perrenoud is a wonderful listener with lots of creative ideas. All three manage to deliver the goods : jazz as you've rarely heard it, creating an unusual atmosphere but with sufficient emotional depth to keep the attention going. Many more gifted and skilled musicians could learn a lot from this band's musical vision. To make it even better - and appreciate the coherence here - the music is free, in the monetary sense. You can just download it from their website.

Listen and download from "Insubordinations" for free.

© stef

1 comment:

Guy said...

i also gave this one a try and quite liked it. there's enough variation, they know how to deal with sound vs. space and i especially dig the grimy, dark atmosphere which has more in common with seedy underground rock than most jazz. a nice surprise, so i need to check what the site/label is offering besides Phat