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- MDLV by Jac Berrocal
9/10 Brian Staff review, 09 May 2014
Blimey this is a pretty out-there platter.
This is apparently Berrocal's first release for 20 years. But wait a sec...it seems these pieces were recorded at different times over the last 30+ years but mostly in the last two decades. Strange how it should work so well as a reasonably coherent listen then? Now...I must state it's not all just trumpets abound before the more brass-phobic amongst you spin out and do a massive merde of defiance in yr panties. The second piece on here is a smoky, brooding lolloping thing that kinda recalls a less frantic Red Snapper with a little New York, No Wave loft attitude. The trumpet here is merely a cherry-esque flourish on top of the moody groove.
Subsequently we get a bizarro cover of Ornette Coleman's 'Lonely Woman' which is quite superb and densely packed with such French staples as accordion and frantic spy thriller free-jazz drums....mangled church bells y' know. Crazy our cross-channel friends they are. So what could be better to follow a Coleman tune than a...cover of a Suicide number?! But it only lasts 43 seconds. So not really one to delight exotica fanboys on the hipster's dancefloor...
'Priere' towards the end of S1 is quite an intense growling, smouldering avant-rock piece which features our Jac aggressively spitting lines in a gravelly timbre. It's quite a remarkable sonic tour-de-force that really adds to the arresting quality of the album. I love the closer of that side even more - 'Aether' - a shimmering trippy piece of minimalism with distant snare rolls, gibbering ad-libbed voices, cheeky trumpet squawks and a fabulous dream-like demeanour that reminds me a little of Faust's more tender moments.
The other face opens up with a Joy Division cover, not that you'd recognise 'The Eternal' much. Evidence of his sympathies with the more unhinged elements of the NY scene of the golden era is the track 'Metallic Bay' which blends free-jazz chaos with nasty guitar shredding and filthy deviant organ. Yes, James Chance is involved here. Following that barminess we get the beautiful symphonic minimalist composition 'Ministries in Conseil'. This along with 'Aether' are my absolute high points over the course of my most curious disc this early May week.
'MDLV' fades out with a raucous punky rock piece, a brief snippet of spoken word and in 'Sacre' a vintage piece of romantic, poetic wistfulness carried by a distant meandering trumpet and the sound of a steel bucket being struck. Very sensual and unusual. I will definitely check out more JB when I get a second. Some cracking collaborative work showcasing a fevered talent here....
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