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Track List: 1. Face (inst.) 6:13 (EFL) 2. Le fleuve 7:48 (Richard) 3. Percutant reportage 0:35 (Chenevier) 4. Recherche (inst.) 5:33 (EFL) 5. Le desastreux voyage 10:40 (Chenevier) 6. POI 6:56 (Richard) 7. Nave de Bilande (inst.) 3:00 (EFL) All lyrics: by Richard, except 3 & 5: by E. Ruynat. Line-up: Ferdinand Richard - vocals; basses Guigou Chenevier - vocals; drums & percussion Francis Grand - saxophones & flute; vocals With: Verto - electric guitar Produced by EFL, France. Engineered by J. P. Grasset at "Tangara" studio, Toulouse.
Preamble. "Les trois fou's perdegagnent" is the second album by Etron Fou Leloublan (EFL hereafter), which was originally released in November of 1977. If you wish to read the review of the first EFL album, click > here.
The Album. I think that most of the profound Prog-lovers will notice that often, the second EFL output sounds quite different than its predecessor. Many shades of the musical palette of this album remind me of those typical for the early manifestations of RIO in general and the creation of Henry Cow, Samlas Mammas Manna, and (partly) Slapp Happy in particular. Indeed, even though the elements of Fifth Element are recognizable here from time to time as well, the careful structural analysis of this album shows that RIO is certainly a prevalent genre in the music on it. In detail, the stylistic picture of "Les trois fou's perdegagnent" ("LTFP" hereafter, OK?) is as follows. The music on Face, Le fleuve, Disastrous Voyage, and Percutant reportage (tracks 1, 2, 5, & 3 respectively), the first of which is an instrumental piece, while the latter is a very short song, represents an original, yet, Classic RIO. By the way, Le fleuve features an episode with quite sinister vocals that, maybe, became a prototype for those on Univers Zero's "Herecie". Although the elements of Avant-garde Academic Music and Free Jazz are present here as well, the music on each of the said tracks is quite structured and, with the exception of most of the solos of sax, looks like being thoroughly composed, and not as just pre-composed. Which, above all, is because, the solos of bass play the core thematic role on most of the arrangements on "LTFP". In fact however, even though everything is here in the state of a constant development, all the contents of this album look quite coherent - especially in comparison with those of the only Henry Cow album that features vocals, "In Praise of Learning". Furthermore, all three of the remaining tracks: POI, Nave de Bilande, and Recherche (6, 7, & 4 respectively), both of the latter of which are instrumental compositions, are even more structured than any of those four that I've described previously. Both of POI and Nave de Bilande are about RIO with elements of Art-Rock and Prog-Metal and the bits of free jazz and have an obvious hypnotic feel to them. Apart from basic arrangements, Nave de Bilande contains also a large number of various effects and noises. On the whole, this instrumental piece is still in the vein of RIO, though at the same time, this is the only track on the album where can be heard a few of the elements of Symphonic Art-Rock. In contrast with a musical atmosphere of the album, which is quite dark overall, the vocals on "LTFP" are either of a 'normal' character or just recitatives, though all of them represent somewhat of a blend of clownery and buffoonery.
Summary. Although the second album by EFL is by no means less intricate and intriguing than their debut, I find it a bit less original than "Batelage", which is utterly filled with highly innovative ideas. While here, I hear the echoes of Henry Cow, the band that pioneered Rock In Opposition, and also a few of those of Samlas Mammas Manna, Soft Machine (circa "V"), and even Zappa. And nevertheless, "LTFP" is an absolute masterpiece and one of those most adventurous and, thus, interesting albums that form a golden fund of the Progressive Rock movement - nothing less.
VM: January 28, 2003
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