Tuesday, April 27, 2010


In 'First Contact' we read about the highlands of New Guinea, the subject of the beautiful and mystical Barbet Schroeder movie "La Vallee'.
There was a valley high up in the mountains of New Guinea which was completely unknown to the outside world up until the early sixties. Everyone assumed on either side of the island that the mountains reached a peak in the centre, but on flying over, it was discovered that in reality there was a long 1000 mile valley, fertile, full of life, full of people, roughly one million people it turned out, who had never had any contact with the outside world...
What do you think was discovered when the first westerners (australians searching for gold) came upon the lost valley, the only place on earth that had not been exposed to the outside world at that time?

They found tribes that were identical in speech, in language, in culture, in music, in appearance obviously, but who were bitterly at war with each other over the tiniest of differences. There wasn't the smallest disagreement that wasn't stupid enough to make war over, even though the people were essentially identical.
And what did they want? Guns and rifles, so they could kill their enemies more efficiently... so the wars, which were so long lasting sometimes no one knew why they had started, became worse and worse, with more deaths and killings, thanks to european technology.
So it's obvious what I'm saying here. Human tribalism has a tendency to magnify slight differences within a group and to create wars on the basis of tiny details, details which are laughable to most people out there in the real world... Let's go ask someone out there what they think. What do you think about this or that fight? Is it really worth it?
I know when I tell my wife about these things, the look she gives me, well it just says it all. And included in that look is, why are you not helping with the laundry. Instead of wasting your time with music.

To me this is the very definition of a lost treasure.
The album (last painting of the master) seems to be a series of vignettes about an apocalypse on earth.
The first couple of songs are highly reminiscent of early genesis with delicate folklike 12-string guitar, zither or whatever the harplike guitar instrument is, surprising chord changes at the end taking flight.
It's amazing, as I said before, how long the progressive tradition continued on in France long after it had died out in its country of origin and been trashed by punk and new wave simplicity. Is it because the french were better educated than the british? They were less fashion conscious? They were not aware of what was going on, as in the case with eastern europe? Maybe it's because it's not that easy to do punk in french, it's awkward, like french hip-hop. Or because they had a strong tradition and band of progressive musicians, having invented the whole genre of zeuhl? Remember, Ange was a huge band in France in the seventies. Or was it because they just love being perverse and different from the rest of the world? Let's not even mention how rude they are in Paris although I hear things are improving a bit. So this album definitely reminds a lot of Ange's "Par les fils du mandarin," being more folk-like symphonic.

Check out instrumental track 'Voyage' which starts inauspiciously with Em, D, C, and a simple harmonics fourth, but then moves into an extraordinary chord change: Bm, Fsharpm, Csharpm, Em, then B, A, D, Dflat, then Bmajor7 and Cmajor7 alternate on a melody based on (the note) B. Wow!! There is probably no other song written with the same chord change, which to me is the essence of good progressive. It's the way these imaginative songwriters managed to put together songs that are different from any other songs in the world, and to still make them sound beautiful.

By the time you read this it will probably be already dead, but try the link below anyways, for fun. Perhaps you can imagine in your mind what a beautiful record this is. Then you can weep in your whiskey, or vodka, as the case may be. You can even put up the link on your wall (use scotch tape) and think to yourself about that chord change I mentioned, maybe even play it on the guitar, if you know how. If you don't I suggest you learn the kazoo, it's easier. Anyways if the link doesn't work I'm sorry, it used to work, I promise it did, although from your point of view, it might as well be random garbage spewed out by a random program on my computer (that speaks hungarian, oddly enough), who knows if the link really worked today, or maybe my preschooler invented it -- he can't spell yet, he just makes up words. Oddly enough, they mean very profound things, like, 'I just pooped.'
Hey wait a minute that's a good idea, I can post albums I don't have and pretend I have them making up a fake link! And no one would know, because the links will be removed so quickly! I can even post an album of my kid's poops!



Tristan Stefan said...


Anonymous said...

i had this LP about 30 years ago, i listened to it very well
now i can remember those days, nostalgy
thanks, good music


Anonymous said...

In a word, fantastic. A pearl from wonderful 70s-80s french progressive scene.
This album was already posted somewhere, explaining the few comments.

As always very genuine post

Anonymous said...

Links still good. I'm glad. This is very unique to my ear. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Links still not good. I'm not glad.

Anonymous said...

Dead link! what a pity... Possible re-up great masters ?!...and bravo for all your works.

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