Je ne veux plus voir le ciel

by Lieutenant Caramel

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about

Time : 21'
1988
1st concert : V2 Hertogenbosch - Hollande - 6/05/1989
Studio Actéon
First edition : Lp ACTEON - SJ organisation - 1988

credits

released June 30, 1988

Voices : Sylvie Loquet, Karyne Tercier and sister

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Lieutenant Caramel Annecy, France

Philippe Blanchard alias Lieutenant Caramel est un artiste collecteur de sons : les Norias d’Hama, les tomates de Deir ez- Zur (Syrie), les zurkhanes (Maison de Force) en Iran, les serpents de Mary (Turkménistan), la Maison jaune de Beyrouth (Liban), la Gare d’Odessa (Ukraine) et jusqu’aux cryptes du Vatican… ... more

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Track Name: Coeur d'or aux rats
Déjà Maudit...

Perceval, Perceval
es-tu fou ? fou...foufoufou
t'es fou t'es fou

Parti des monstres, parti des rois, on va me tuer,
je suis un traître, je suis déjà maudit,
déjà condamné

JE SUIS SEUL SUR LA PASSERELLE
D'UN NAVIRE QUI SOMBRE

Perceval, Perceval
es-tu fou ? fou...foufoufou
t'es fou t'es fou

J'AI PRIS LE PARTI DES MONSTRES

___________________________________________

Already Curse...

++Perceval, ++Perceval
are-you madman ? madman...
you are mad you are mad

Party of monsters, party of kings, one is going to kill me,
I am a traitor, I am already curst,
already condemnee

I AM ALONE ON THE
SHIP THAT SOMBER

++Perceval, ++Perceval
are-you madman ? madman...
you are mad you are mad

I HAVE TAKEN THE PARTY OF THE MONSTERS
Track Name: Etoile sur le rein
http://www.heathenharvest.com/

Musique concrete albums are strange beasts at the best of times, and this one is no exception. I have to say that my experience with them is fairly limited, my first one ever being G*Park’s “Seismogramm” which I reviewed for this very webzine earlier this year. I was pleasantly surprised by that one, simply because to my delight the bizarre collection of beeps, scrapes, boings, blips and other treated sounds turned out to be an effective medium in which to tell a story. Having said that though it would be fair to point out that unlike an ambient album, for instance, it’s hard to engage directly with what the artist is trying to convey, and it’s much more of an intellectual game. Nevertheless, though, the ‘hunt’ is all part of the game and can be an enjoyable exercise in itself.
This album collates a series of recordings made by Pierre Blanchard over a period of fourteen years, starting way back in 1986 and with the most recent being in 2000. Over that span, one is aware of a definite musical progression in terms of style and execution. The first part, entitled ‘The Pandora’s Box’, is much more chaotic, in keeping perhaps with its erstwhile subject matter. And maybe there’s a clue at the very start of track one, where a female voice says (in French) “Enter gentlemen, enter ladies, into the menagerie” (loose translation I have to add), and what follows plunges us into an exotically mad world of twitters, chirps, honkings, howls, squeaks and assorted strange calls, with feathers and fur flying everywhere. It’s that hint of something exotic that holds the awed attention, descriptors of a world of marvellous invention, of devilish devices that wouldn’t necessarily exist in any world, of impossible Heath Robinsonesque contraptions held together with string and tape, and of the bemused denizens of that world, unsure as to whether such machines were a help or a hindrance. Arcane twangings and bizarre plucking, distorted gremlin voices going about their slightly suspect business, arthritic creakings and rheumatic wheezings add further colour to an already dayglo dimension, possibly even turning up the contrast to eye watering levels.
The second part, “I no Longer Want to See the Sky”, while only recorded a matter of two years later, already takes us in a completely different direction, while at the same time retaining some essential Lt. Caramel elements. For one thing, here we have synthesisers and a much more ‘tuneful’, less chaotic, incarnation of this beast. There is even, dare I say it, more of a sense of structure in addition. Apart from anything else, it wraps everything up in a distinctly different mood and atmosphere. As an example, track six, “Gold Heart of a Rat”, feels itchy, skittish, secretive and unwilling to expose itself too much, ultimately shying away from the light and wanting to hide in inaccessible nooks and crannies. Scratchy, urgent, querulous and nervous sketches in sound set paint a shyly scurrying, hurrying and quicksilver picture, refusing to stay in any one place for long while nervously scanning its surroundings. Although there are firmer ‘musical’ underpinnings it still defines itself through a carefully choreographed set of superficially random sounds.
Surprisingly, the album rounds itself off in a much more structured manner, with two longer visually narrative pieces, These two in fact most closely approach what could be considered music, although they don’t completely abandon the musique concrete elements. They still burp and splutter, hop and jump in unexpected and surprising directions, but they’re underpinned by a canvas of drones and keyboards, adding considerable depth and density. These are indeed the most accessible of all the pieces on here, but accessibility is a relative term here it has to be pointed out. Allied to visual elements, as the last track, “Were it Hurt to You”, was meant to be (a composition intended for a theatre production), then it would an even greater level of accessibility.
To be quite honest, I find it difficult to properly evaluate this album. I thoroughly enjoyed everything on here – despite the fact that ultimately I prefer music that develops themes over long periods the very mercurial and ephemeral nature of the pieces on here captivated me. The staccato rapidity with which these compositions fired themselves at me ensured a constant revelatory unravelling, as if, for instance, they were threads in some complex multi-patterned carpet, fundamentally simple as individual threads but nevertheless beautifully and aesthetically complex as a co-operative conglomerate. This is exactly how this album works – each sound represents a thread that in isolation means nothing, but added to other threads in concert creates a wondrous web of narratives and intricate stories. If you have similar tastes to me, or even if musique concrete is your particular favourite musical tipple, then this will definitely fire off every synapse in your brain’s pleasure centres.