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(59:00 DVD, Musea Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Chromophonie Extras: 2. Yochk'o Seffer: Alkotash 3. Ethnic Duo: Attila 4. Neffesh Music: Irgalom 5. Zao: Atart 6. Yochk'o Seffer: Trabla LINEUP: Not applicable
Prolusion. Hungarian born artist, composer and multi-instrumentalist Yochk'o SEFFER has been a feature of the French art scene since the late ‘60s, at the onset most well known for his musical endeavors as a band member in outfits like Magma and Zao, later establishing himself as a solo performer as well as a sculptor and graphic artist. "Chromophonie" is a documentary movie, featuring anecdotes, comments and examples of his various forms of art produced over the years. Originally produced by La Seine TV in 2005, Musea Records was able to issue this film on DVD in 2010.
Analysis. To give a rating to any DVD production is something of a challenge. Movies, arguably even more than albums, will be appreciated on a highly subjective level by the individual viewer. And what's important for some will be much less of an issue for others. This DVD is a good example of one such dimension. It is a documentary with lots of dialog, but without any subtitles. No problem for anyone fluent in the French language, but a major obstacle for anyone unfamiliar with it. Personally I don't speak the language, and as for the specifics of the movie I'll have to guess when it comes to details. I can't tell to what degree or in what detail Seffer's life as an artist is chronicled for instance, nor if this is a comparatively laid-back production focusing more on mood and stories and less on dates and historical details. The manner in which this production has been constructed does indicate the former, although the latter does come to the forefront now and then. We're provided with many details of Seffer's work in creating musical sculptures from the onset, and later on his work as a painter and graphic artist is covered nicely as well. In both instances music seems to be the major influence in his endeavors, and from comments Seffer provides it seems that surrealism and dadaism are influential movements in this part of his artistic productions. As Seffer is a renowned musician, his musical history is covered even more extensively, apparently with a main focus on the experimental and improvisational jazz part of his catalog. As he was in the midst of the "String Orchestra" project when this feature was made, this project and the collaborators featured there are given a central place in this movie. The most interesting part of this film from a progressive rock point of view will arguably be the long sequence featuring Christian Vander of Magma fame. A five or so minute-long commentary on Seffer's time in Magma and his later history involving Vander should be interesting for most dedicated Kobaians, and the following 5-minute improvisational sax and drums workout covered should also be intriguing to many, I presume, even if we're dealing with a piece of work that probably resides somewhere within the avant-garde jazz universe as far as stylistic expression goes. Seffer's time in Zao is also given a fair amount of screen time, and musically this is another chapter on this DVD that should interest those with a fascination for progressive rock.
Conclusion. The lack of subtitles makes this DVD somewhat less interesting for those not fluent in this language, due to the extensive dialog naturally found in a documentary production of this sort. The slight emphasis on the jazz credentials of Seffer's artistic career might also limit the target audience of this outing to some degree. Five long musical pieces as bonus material and lengthy musical pieces featured in the main movie do make this endeavor interesting to a somewhat wider audience, but by and large this is a documentary feature in French, made by and for an audience speaking that language. Dedicated Kobaians should add this one to their list of future purchases anyhow though, if not for other reasons than to witness a smiling, happy and relaxed Christian Vander in an interview situation followed by an improvisational feature that, to my knowledge, isn't available on any album. For those with a general interest in Seffer's artistic history I presume this production has been added to their lists of future acquisitions already, in particular for those with a fluent understanding of Frenc
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