Friday 20 December 2013

Intermission: Joseph Racaille: Les Flots Bleus (Pages eternelles de la musique moderne), Six Petites Chansons (EP) from 1983

I'm pretty sure one of these was posted on mutant sounds, perhaps in this post.  But both are exceptionally good, with some of the best modern classical songwriting I've ever heard.  I pray one day to discover Racaille's music was performed live in a small concert hall somewhere in Europe (like Tickmayer).

Joseph Racaille was the R in ZNR, famous in progressive circles for their 1980 album "Traité De Mécanique Populaire" which of course was completely out of the sphere of anything popular and without a doubt remains very much so.  Portella (the N in ZNR?) collaborated with him on the Flots Bleus album with side one composed by P and side two by R.  The former plays clarinet, sometimes constructing ingenious chords in layers, the latter wrote the lyrics and plays the piano.  The combined sound is oddly French with its accordion-like dimensions.  In the EP 6 Petites Chansons on the other hand, we have one Norbert Aboudarham playing the accordion (as well as the Bouzouki, which, for those who don't know like myself, is a Greek mandolin-like stringed instrument).

Between the EP and 1990's Triton, I don't see anything listed in any discography of him. I wonder what he did in those intervening years, does anyone know?

Both albums were produced by the label Recommended Records which despite the similarity was a separate entity to Re Records from which the Quarterly albums were derived.  However the musicians and artists obviously were the same or at least very similar for both Record Companies.

The Flots Bleus album picks up straight where ZNR left off without a doubt, often simple clarinet or sung melodies on top of piano phrases, three-note repeating patterns.  I will admit at times it degenerates into what sounds like silly, simplistic children's songs, a failing that is all-too-sadly common in RIO and that drives me batty as a fan of the genre, especially since it serves to alienate so many people.  Thus for example we have the ridiculous song Six:

Often a song will start simply but evolve in a very curious direction, as in Choral:

But the highlight here is the EP 6 Petites Chansons.  The most bizarre and strangely successful tune is "Solo un dia (in paradise)" which not only mashes together Spanish, English and French in the lyrics, but abruptly one minute from the end a fuzzed-out electric guitar starts soloing in the most unexpected manner, like a disheveled schizophrenic uncle disturbing a black-tie cocktail party.

Another perfectly progressive song is the last, "A Personne Particuliere" which sounds like a Julverne composition with lyrics:

As bonus I threw in a ST Joseph Racaille from the CD era which my friend sent to me.  Notice he recycles some of his older songs on here in a more commercialese musical lingo.


  1. note that none of these are my rip, thanks to the original (Jack the) ripper (s):

    6 Petites Chansons (1983, EP)

    Les Flot Bleus (1983, LP)

    Joseph Racaille (CD, 1990)
    (available only for a week)

    1. new reup of the 6 song ep, I think les flots bleus link is still active (the second link above):

    2. Yes thank you i have that one, thanks for 6 Petites Chansons

  2. Hi Julian could you please, repost 6 Petites Chansons & Joseph Racaille, it would be really appreciated, thanks

  3. Still fresh

    sólo un día en Paradise
    y miles años pasan en la tierra
    les pièces du jeu sont couchées sur le sol
    cosas caminan to emptiness
    el woodman vuelve a casa
    el haft of his hache
    a pourri en el viento
    nada como hoy, solo el puente
    still spanning un rainbow granado
    sólo un día en Paradise
    y miles años pasan en la tierra
    les pièces du jeu sont couchées sur le sol,
    cosas caminan to emptiness