Monday, 5 January 2015

Confluence, from beginning to end, 1976 to 1978

Confluence made three albums in the great French tradition of avant-garde jazz, that is, progressive jazz linked with modern music a la Stravinsky or Schoenberg.  So it's a style I love very deeply, personally.

Capon and Escoude were in the first two, I posted their album Quatre Elements here, the link is new for those who need it.  I also have the 1980 Escoude album, Gousti, which has some gypsy elements (for which he had a predilection) but is still quite enjoyable and progressive.  My personal favourite album is the middle one, with the outrageously beautiful and oh-so-french-sounding Les Quais En Automne (a reference to the quais on the river Seine in Paris?) which was written by none other than Capon, and note the melancholy of the oboe:

Here are some earlier remarks about them from pnf (four years ago!) by permission:

"Here we have the final unavailable French Confluence album (chronologically the first). The second and third albums, Arkham and Chroniques Terrestres, were made available at mutant sounds some time ago. As far as I know this one was not before online, but it's nice to complete the work of this undeservedly unknown band.  "Quietly gorgeous French jazzy prog of a very airy, languid and spacious sort, often focused around the wistful cello work of Jean-Francois Capon, whose devastating outfit Baroque Jazz Trio recently had their one eponymous album reissued. One of France's great undiscovered treasures" is the surprisingly subdued description from mutant sounds of Arkham. I would say that it is actually chamber jazz, with a very well-worked melding of chamber orchestra (a lot of violin, flute, cello, double bass) and jazz. Less rock is in this recipe. Unfortunately one of the jazz elements employed is the long tedious and boring jazz solo. I defy anyone to listen thru the last track without fast-forward. This long "4 voyages" (through the sahara desert no doubt?) drags on quite too long before finishing in a gorgeous flute and violin passage using second notes on top of minor chords for that oh so plaintive effect. It is debatable whether the trip to that last 2 minutes was worth the wait...

These progressive musicians wrote a kind of music that has no rules, they use rock, jazz, and european classical in equal measure to create a whole that is perfectly harmonious and has no borders or styles. In my life I listened to modern classical, even Berg and Schoenberg, to jazz, to rock, and I feel like with this music I have come home, it has everything I have looked for in a lifetime of listening to music, all in one package. I hope you who enjoy this agree.    But when I come to work and on the radio I hear for the ten thousandth time "Signs signs everywhere there's signs" or even "Hotel California" playing it fills me with despair at the human condition.  

On a personal note, I wish I could post more albums but time constraints are again a problem with wife returning to work as a spaceperson (cosmonautova) and two small children which I have a lot of trouble to get rid of.  Surely when they finally go to school I will devote more time to this "weird, weird strange hobby" (my wife's words) of sharing progressive albums from the seventies ("Long before I was born???" as my receptionist always says).  A lot of people suggest to get a nanny but I wouldn't inflict these terrible, abnormal children, on any human being no matter how patient or expensively we pay them."

Well, since that was written, my wife is inside the Russian space station again conducting medical research on how to syringe out earwax blockages in zero gravity, my kids are in school currently driving their teachers crazy, and guess what?  I have all the time in the world to indulge in my "weird, weird hobby" as my wife put it of collecting old and forgotten music everyone finds quite off-putting and kind of useless from "long before I was born?" as the receptionists at work always love to tell me  in order to fill up the entire volume of my basement with vinyl records sure to get destroyed in the next crazy flood that hits our town...  hey, rock on, bros...


  1. confluence 1
    confluence 2
    confluence 3

  2. Thanks again Julian, can't wait to chill out and take it all in. Anything ever come of " L'UNIVERSE- SOLITUDE "

  3. I'm not permitted to share it, but the best thing about it is the cover. It's completely free jazz which I didn't find interesting at all.

  4. Julian,
    Links are dead, is it posible to re-up?
    Thanks in advance


    1. I didn't renew the sendspace account-- actually, they didn't email me to say it was being put on hold-- try again later today I will pay those bastards

    2. Julian,
      link 1 works, I'll try with the others later.
      Thank you


  5. So much to discover. Thanks. The Les Quais En Automne is sublime.

  6. I have the LP "4 voyages" bought when it came on the market. It's great to have it now digitalized! Thank you so much, Julian! (and of course I'm taking the two others!).