A propos du disque
One of the myriad of first-rate musician-run labels is the recently birthed Yolk Records, a Nances, France-based enterprise that focuses on releasing fresh documents from young French improvisers. Crlustraude is yet another vibrant release, one that brings forth a true “power trio” consisting of guitarist Pascal Maupeu, electric bassist Stéphane Decolly, and drummer Nicolas Larmignat.
The collective draws its influences from a variety of tributaries, including the bristling energy of free improv, the potency of rock, and the technical demands of jazz. Perhaps the most compelling aspect of the results, though, is that, save for one or two cuts, the compositions lack any sense of predictability. Rather, the roadmaps for almost every song are convoluted, unexpected delights that thrive on the group’s interplay inspired by each compositional variance.
The group’s restlessness is one of the main reasons that this is such a likeable release. Such perceptions are initiated at the outset, on the bubbling and energized fury of “Petit Peter”, which later turns into a country foray (replete with banjo). Similarly, “Mmh Auchan” possesses an energy that would be a thrilling soundtrack to a late-night interstate jaunt, though the piece concludes with a funk-rockish groove. While a rock influence is clearly at the center of Crlustraude’s aesthetic, two solid examples of this stimulus include the sinister metal stomp of “Crlustraude” and the buzzing “Rompre”.
It’s not all frenetic bombast, though, as the impressionistic “Mon Ami Pigeon” or “Irascible” reveal. The latter thrives on surging force thanks to Maupeu’s vicious attack, which resolves itself as a rock instrumental that would fit nicely alongside a Jim Black record. Also falling within the AlasNoAxis, er, axis is “Iskédyl”, with Larmignat’s tubthumping sparking his companions, as Maupeu and Decolly lead the piece into a distorted epic.
The group also displays a sensitive side on the ravishing melancholia of Leonard Cohen’s “Sisters Of Mercy”, with Maupeu’s tone taking on a country tinge á la Bill Frisell while Decolly and Larmignat shuffle alongside. The group also undertakes a similar ethos, albeit of a darker hue, on the moody, ominous atmosphere of Robert Wyatt’s “Alfie Alifib” before it breaks into a guitar-centric blowout at the end of its 15 minutes.
For guitar freaks or for folks that abhor comfortable settings, this one will surely prove to shoot sparks on a continuing basis. Full of surprises and risk taking, this egg is hard boiled.