Saturday, 10 July 2010

Jarabe De Aire

It's really fucking hot. Anything involving more movement than going to the kitchen is frankly not on the agenda at the moment. The air is like fucking syrup today and there's not a lot of wind to stir it around, which is why I'm listening to appropriately gloopy music. Which can mean only one thing. Not Krautrock, either too sleek or too spacey for a day where the atmosphere appears to be clotting. Not even my beloved Swedish mong-warriors, Pärson Sound/International Harvester et al are the right kind of blug for weather like this, no, what you need when yr head feels like it's full of treacle, is mad French people with synthesizers and drugs and no sense of taste or shame whatsoever. In short, Frogprog is the shit. Lard Free's debut LP is a case in point. It's wrong on so many levels you need new dimensions to measure the level of duh that's embedded in its grooves, it's also utterly fantastic.

Take the first track, "Warinobaril", the drummer sounds so stoned that he could fall off his stool at any moment, a fruity bass guitar wanders around a deeply pedestrian riff, whilst seriously fucking parping saxophones call to each other like slightly rubbish whales. After a cosmic oompah eternity (2 minutes), the guitarist, of whom nothing has yet been heard has obviously finished his spliff, and crashes into the song at three times the volume of everything else with a clanking atonal chord and then hurls notes around like a chimp chucking it's shit at tourists at the zoo. The rhythm sections takes apparently no notice of this fact, apart from the bass playing increasing in fruitiness, but eventually the sax player gets the idea and blurts his lungs out for a bit as well, soon though, the sax returns to its pervious parp incarnation and the guitar slowly dissolves in pools of feedback. It's ridiculous, but executed with such solemn seriousness that you can only admire the balls of people who thought this was a good way to introduce their music to our ears. It shouldn't work, it just shouldn't. But it does.

Things on the next track get even better, five minutes of tweaking metronomic synth action with a rolling foghorn sax accompaniment that culminates in a ludicrously wibblesome analogue freakout, then abruptly turns into three and a half minutes of gooey guitar led electric free jazz mayhem. The rest of the album is just as schizophrenic, going from the wronger than wrongdom can be of "Livarot Respiration" with its unspeakable combination of sub-Popol Vuh Fender Rhodes, truly horrible guitar* playing and a sax solo that sounds like Pharoah Sanders mellow stuff played by one of the aforementioned rubbish whales, to the cosmic idiocy of "Acid Framboise"**. A return to the stumpy drum world of the first song, with a synth bass line played by someone with no sense of rhythm and who's just discovered the filter, and is determined to let everyone know it while the guitarist slowly morphs from Manuel Gottsching to Ray Russell over the course of its 6 or so excellent minutes. Truly an album with something for everyone who appreciates the finer points of psychedelic wrongheadedness.

Amazingly, the second album, "I'm Around About Midnight" is even better***. And not just because of the appearance on guitar, bass and synth, of Richard Pinhas, shameless feedback lover and leader of the mighty Heldon (who if you've never heard, you really fucking should). Beginning with the Terry Riley meets Goblin minimalist zone of "Violez L'Espace De Son Refrigerant" that leads beautifully into the amazing "In A Desert - Alambic". Again we're back in the land of looping rhythms and saxophones, but this time, they sound tighter, more focused. They're not mucking about this time. Mr Pinhas makes his entrance on guitar on this song, letting loose a stream of seemingly infinitely sustained notes that just sail through the rock formations of the beat. There's the metronomic, apocalyptic "Pale Violence Under A Reverbere" which prefigures the gothic future threat of Chrome's "Third From The Sun" by a good few years and the beautiful, transcendent piano and fucking big moog of "Even Silence Stops When Trains Come" which ends the album in an almost Alice Coltrane space.

The third album, the inventively titled "III" is also fucking ace. Beg, buy, borrow or download them all, and the next time the air turns to jam, you'll have the perfect soundtrack to a muggy mind.

*Seriously, it's fucking revolting, like smack-era Eric Clapton just wandered in and plugged in.

**A Morgen Und Nite frogprog favourite.

***I know. Hard to believe, but nevertheless true.

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