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Andre Fertier's Clivage - Regina Astris CD (album) cover

REGINA ASTRIS

Andre Fertier's Clivage

 

Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

4.02 | 15 ratings

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Guldbamsen
Forum & Site Admin Group
Site and Forum Admin
4 stars Soundtrack to Gauguin

I was watching a documentary of one of my favourite painters here the other day, and all the way through it, I had this music sizzling up through the back of my skull. Felt like someone, very small granted, had placed themselves in a diving costume emanating melodic bubbles in my all too troubled cranium. As it turns out, it was in fact this album by Andre Fertiérīs Clivage that had been playing alongside the flashing television screen showing pictures of Paul Gauguinīs Haitian beauties.

Just to be perfectly clear about this, I donīt have a physical copy of this album, and that is largely down to the fact that it is out of print, and to my recollection it has never been released on cd. The thing is though, that outside of YouTube it is next to impossible to listen to this album, unless you were one of the lucky ones that purchased this on vinyl back in the day, and that is a damn shame! Iīve had to base my review of this album - solely from listening on YouTube, and Iīll happily come back to it via the tube again and again if I have to, but Iīd rather pay for a copy... It is an album thatīs as rare as a politician without a tie - or a vegetarian leopard. What I am trying to say, is that Regina Astris and its descendant should be made available one way or the other - at least through a legal download site - or else this wonderful and highly original music will become extinct and only accessible for a few people in the know. Is that any way to treat music?

Back to Gauguin and the music! When I think of the Indo-Prog/Raga Rock genre - the images of India and sitars are not far away, and I suspect others here have similar views about it. Well itīs not all curries and Sikhs this music. I on the other hand see the palm trees of Haiti, the forbidden and alluring fruits that entice you into the visual aspects of the human sexuality. Those paths that reek of sweat and bodily fluids, and I often think to myself, how uncanny the female sexual organ resembles a mango cut in half. Fruits have always hold a somewhat seducing and dangerous reference in the bible - going back as far as Adam & Steve. No wonder itīs called the forbidden fruit...

Regina Astris is an eclectic album, and just by listening to the opening track Moving Waves and the way the saxophone is used, itīs obvious that thereīs more to this genre than the stereotypic Indian traces. I just adore the fusion like bird twittering of the saxophone on this record. It is like long lingering bebop dressed like a 5 headed deity from the east. That being said, there is an overwhelming amount of hypnotic tablas in play during most of this music, and it sure (as the bear who shits in the woods) taints this outing in a mystical Eastern coating. Having played the instrument myself, I can safely say that this guy is no Indian pro - he never approaches the frantic hemispheres of those practitioners of the tablas that play like their arms and fingers are separated from their bodies and attached to some kind of supernatural rhythmic power, - not exactly, no - but he knows what heīs doing and he does it very well. Thereīs an earthy characteristic forever linked to these drums, and I have always loved them like no other percussive instrument. I feel like I can hear a similar appreciation of the instrument in this guy as well, as he like myself - often experiments with the multitude of sounds the drums have to offer - spanning from deep bouncy rhythmic splashes to the distinctive clear and wooden sounds that you get when you hit the rim.

André Fertier, who is the head honcho here, is guilty of some rather folky guitar textures, and what I think are his greatest sonic attributes to this recording are by far his usage of keys and the at times aggressive plucking of various string instruments. Often appearing like drifting textures - close to that of shoals of glistening fish, if they indeed could sing - the keys are contour less background sculptures that fit in with the rest of the band perfectly. Based on long drones of rhythm filled surfaces, the music is further enhanced and lead by a violin which is very reminiscent of the way we use the thing in European folk music, a bass that is so important to the music - and the way it is performed, that Iīd think the feel and otherwise cracking texture of this record, would go down the drain, like flushing down an unsubstantial turd in the toilet - had it been without it. Trees need roots - no matter how much they rely on sunshine, rain and squirrels.

Jumping from rodents to fruits - Iīd like to finish off where I started. The tracks almost explode in colours to me, and there is a distinct vibe going on here, that always gets me thinking about those beautiful, saucy, sensuous and exotic fruits that Paul Gauguin painted, when he lived on Haiti. Gauguin had a way with colours and surfaces, that I find very appealing and it still continues to draw me in like a moth to a flame - just like this music. -Much in the same way as he utilized surfaces like palettes on which the red, green, yellow, blue and purple all freely flow - each in their own way - apart from the others, but in unison like those shoals of fish I mentioned earlier, - Regina Astris seems to work in the same manner. Duality connecting the arts... Gauguin was double-edged like that. The ingredients were "separate" in his paintings, but to the naked eye - the unison of the given piece always trumped this disaggregating aspect. Maybe I am out of my mind with this comparison, but given the individual mind-frames we surround our musics with - I find it completely natural to speak about that which paints and flourishes in my head, whenever I listen to this fabulous recording.

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |

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