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Jean Lapouge and Christian Paboeuf - 2012 - "Atlas"

(56:09, Musea Records)


1.  Tourbillon 7:38
2.  Delta 5:44
3.  Marecage 7:27
4.  Gothique 7:08
5.  PF 6:44
6.  Sombre 6:55
7.  Solo 5:59
8.  Atlas 8:34


Jean Lapouge – guitars 
Christian Pabeouf – oboe, recorder; percussion; voice

Prolusion. Jean LAPOUGE and Christian PABEOUF have a common past in the French band Noetra. In fact, their collaboration was an ongoing one, when Noetra disbanded in 1985 the twosome kept going as a duo for a while. It was in this period that the material for this album was recorded, although it would take more than 20 years before these compositions made it to the CD "Atlas", released through Musea Records’ sublabel Great Winds in 2010.

Analysis. A couple of details about this disc at first. Audiophiles will notice one detrimental feature right away, namely tape hiss. Whatever the quality of the storage device these compositions were captured on, it wasn't able to remove this slightly annoying feature. Perhaps not the biggest issue around, but an important little detail for some, and it also makes it a tad harder to try to uncover the instrumentation used. I could have sworn I heard a bass guitar and the occasional keyboard or vibraphone detail before this disc came to a close, but due to the tape hiss it was impossible to truly tell if these were present items, excluded from the album credits or merely instrument details provided by the credited instruments performed in a subtly unusual manner. With that slightly sour grape out of the way, I'll have to admit that the music on this disc is by and large of an alien nature to me. We're way into the jazz realm on this occasion, perhaps with a subtle jazz rock detail to it but with a distinct focus on the former part of that description even so. This is jazz, but probably not what one might describe as a traditional variety of it. Jazz fans will arrest me easily on that statement if it is faulty presumably, but to my ears and mind we're dealing with a production just a tad outside of mainstream, traditional jazz here. The star of the show, to my ears admittedly, is the guitar. Lapouge showcases a masterful skill of using guitar resonances to craft gentle, delightful atmospheres, more often than not of a melancholic, mournful nature. For variation as well as reflection, we're treated to a fair share of subtle alterations in pace and intensity, documenting quite nicely and to intriguing effect just how much even a slight alteration in any of these details can alter the mood of a song or a sequence. Add in some delightful solo passages and the occasional dramatic effect, and the end result for this part of the proceedings is sure to fascinate guitarists and the guitar interested alike. Supplementing and contrasting Lapouge's guitar, Paboeuf uses oboe first and foremost, both in mood and harmony with the guitars, as well as used as a more starkly contrasting feature, playfully soloing on top a gentle melancholic guitar motif or adding a harsher, raw texture to an otherwise gentle mood. Occasional features of the recorder, percussion and voice effects expand the canvas and further add variation and mood enhancers to the proceedings, but it's the guitar and oboe that are the main features and the former of these most of all. Most of these compositions are fairly similar in nature, although a few pieces do head out into somewhat different territories: PF with more frequent use of percussion details, voice effects and recorder, Solo as the standalone guitar piece and tilte track Atlas, a masterful exploration of drawn out guitar resonances.

Conclusion. Lapouge and Paboeuf's CD "Atlas" is a fascinating journey for those who like their jazz mellow and careful, and in particular for those fond of the guitar in general and careful use of guitar resonances in particular. If you enjoy jazz of a gentle melancholic nature and in addition find the guitar and oboe combination to be a fascinating one this is a CD that merits an inspection. It's as simple as that.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: May 4, 2013
The Rating Room

Related Links:

Musea Records
Jean Lapouge


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