Mouvements 1973 / Mental Experience 2018
Abstract paintings on sonic canvas as an attempt to make sense of non-static existence in Swiss pastoral.
With only 150 copies issued to go on sale strictly at art galleries, this album wasn’t destined to break out of Geneva’s underground, yet it’s a fascinating aural object – what with today’s interest in such curios. Designed by avant-garde guitarist Christian Oestreicher, focused on painter Richard Reimann’s works and recorded by an ensemble that played standing in a circle, “Mouvements” may try and catch immediacy in minimalistic terms, and the album indeed proves to be, for the most part, a magnetic plunge into rarefied sound.
There’s some deliberately lame rocking in “Goutte de Sang En Feu” which, spiced with a cock’s crow, takes folk motif to a barn to roll it in the hay and get lost, while “Le Voyage Sperper” offers infectious funk and jazzy jive. But if “Memoire Pulverisee” has its violins in a pseudo-chamber twist, cutting and splicing the tape to introduce unpredictability to past events – a retcon of sorts – “Largo Pour Piano et Ocean” washes sparse piano notes with tidal waves for the ebb to become an ambient tune. Still, the sound of water in “Hard-Rock Ouverture” only corrodes an unhurried percussion stampede in the piece’s heart, although the drums-propelled nightmare is back for “Nebel / Leben” whose palindrome is impaled on audio effects before the blues kick in.
Bonus numbers propose alternative angle to the album’s jams, “Roots Eater” taking it all to muscular limit and the 18-minute-long “My Guitar Is Driving Me Mad” exploring the sparse possibilities of navigating cluttered space as mapped out by Riley and Zappa. It’s an askew experimentalism, of course, yet no one’s ever said avant-garde must be serious.