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Jean Cohen-Solal - Captain Tarthopom  CD (album) cover

CAPTAIN TARTHOPOM

Jean Cohen-Solal

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.35 | 6 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Second album from this French avant-garde flutist, with a still-present but much toned-down mysticism, taking a second fiddle behind the humour of a marching band-type of music. Indeed even the title exudes a certain kind of slapstick humour (Capt Applepie), but it is not overpowering and we're nowhere close to a Zappa album in this regard. Although the resulting album might appear more accessible, due to a "rock" format (including drums and electric bass) and shorter songs, the album is just as adventurous as Flutes Libres is.

A grotesque horn is opening the title track, soon joined a strident flute, then a ridiculous organ chord over a cool bass and unsettling drum pattern and ending in chicken cackles, such is my description of the first track of this burlesque Tarthopom album. The following Ludions is a much more accessible (and fun), made by an excellent bass groove over some distant gong banging making a bit of a return to his previous album, Flutes Libres. With Ab Hoc & Ab Hac, JC-S explores a J-S B (Bach) theme with much success and a superb fuzz guitar and an Orgue De Barbarie solo and a musical box ending. The dual Mémoire D'un Ventricule is the album's centrepiece, with the first movement returning to the dark broody mood of Quelqu'Un, the sidelong track of the debut album, while the second is more like a Saucerful-era Floyd with an ethereal female voice accentuating the feeling. The closing pun-intended Fossette Surpise (from Pochette Surprise) starts out as a happy-go-lucky two-flutes thing, before veering Floydish again, faking its ending classical-wise before taking over the original Tarthopom riff again, thus ending the album as it started.

You'll find that the burlesque opening Tarthopom riff comes back now and again throughout the album's course, often in a much less perverse and grotesque manner, linking rather well some songs and sometimes even in the middle of songs (Ludious). JC-S also plays a modified organ, which certainly adds more bizarre as if the album needed more of that. Many songs also include sound effects, from a music box to chickens to filtered human voices and the Ondes Martenot (also used by Harmonium in a couple years' time.

Both albums of J C-S being equally rare and expensive (and excellent, IMHO), MIO records released the two of them on a single disc, so you won't have to choose which one to investigate, although chances are that you'll hear Flutes Libres first since it is first on that Mio release. And in the meantime, it will spare me the difficult task to tell you which album , I prefer

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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