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(55:48, Musea Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Heart 6:32 2. Jonetsu Fir Judith 5:55 3. Bunkos 4:01 4. Os-Gyorker 8:52 5. Le Diable Angelique 12:08 6. Delire 13:18 7. Beszelgetes 5:00 LINEUP: Yochko Seffer - pianos; saxophones Lajos Horvath - violin With: Anne Mehat - violin Michelle Margand - violin Francoise Douchet - viola Claudine Lasserre - cello &: Zoltan Fekete - guitar (1) Jean-My Truong - drums (1, 6)
Prolusion. A Hungarian saxophonist, keyboardist and composer residing in France, Yochko SEFFER is a living legend, whose name is still on the lips of everybody with interest in Progressive Rock's most advanced manifestations such as Zeuhl, RIO and Avant Jazz. One of the key personages behind Magma and Zao, Seffer has been successful in his solo career as well, some of his '70s recordings being regarded as a classic. "My Old Roots" is the musician's latest offering to date. With the exception of Beszelgetes, a new composition recorded in 2005, it comprises a collection of tunes from 1976 and 1980. Now that I'm already acquainted with this release, I can say for sure that half of the older pieces, namely Heart, Jonetsu Fir Judith and Delire, have never been available until now (at least on CD), while the other three, Bunkos, Os-Gyorker and Le Diable Angelique, are all taken from Seffer's fourth solo album, "Le Diable Angelique", originally released in 1982. (Variations on that disc's title: Holy Devil and Demoncracy, the latter arousing associations with some countries.)
Analysis. So, what we get in the person:-) of this recording are seven instrumental compositions with an average length clocking in 8 minutes. If you, after taking into account the project's lineup along with the essence of the above paragraph, have arrived at the idea that the music should be in the vein of Zao, Univers Zero and Art Zoyd, you're on the right track of thinking - by and large. The fact is that Yochko and his fellow partners succeed in developing their own unique style everywhere on the recording, so please take note that any reference points in this review are relative, especially bearing in mind that the tracks from 1976 were all available before Univers Zero released their first album. What unites the seven pieces present is that all of them are to a greater or lesser degree inspired by 20-Century classical composers, such as Stravinsky and Bartok (though at times I hear also more angularly-singular sonic constructions, reminiscent of Schoenberg's school), but otherwise the earlier three compositions on many levels differ from the others. One would say Heart and Delire both reveal a strong Zeuhl / Zao and RIO / Univers Zero influence, though personally I consider the said two styles to be the branches of the same genre tree, besides which I don't find any distinction between them in this particular case, and what is more, Delire reminds me almost exclusively of Univers Zero at their most acoustic. The - at times delusively melodious - Jonetsu Fir Judith has much more in common with Heart, despite an absence of drums here. All in all, the opening tune is the most diverse track on the disc, a driving and brutally complex piece, lushly orchestrated RIO with smatterings of Jazz, embodied in some wild improvisations, courtesy of Seffer('s sax). The musicians' sensitivity to Neo-classical music finds its reflection everywhere on the recording, but most of all on the final four pieces, Bunkos, Os-Gyorker, Le Diable Angelique and Beszelgetes, all falling squarely into that idiom, despite the presence of Hungarian traditional tunes here and there, and that on the first of these are deployed some veritably symphonic structures in their purest form, as somewhat opposed to a classic avant-garde approach. Unlike the three pieces described first, each of these features only Seffer (who moreover plays only piano here) and violinist Lajos Horvath, and yet the sound comes across as surprisingly varied, considering the format of a duo, partly because the piano and violin often play a basso-ostinato part.
Conclusion. All these "Old Roots" of Seffer's indicate the maestro had a strong inclination towards modern Classical music during the second half of the '70s. This CD is destined mainly for fans of Avant-garde chamber music and RIO, whilst jazz lovers should beware of going away empty-handed, regardless of what the disc's press release seems to promise them. I didn't add an exclamation mark to the rating only because this is more a compilation than a fully-fledged album.
VM=Vitaly Menshikov: January 11, 2008
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