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Sebkha Chott - De La Persistance De La Mythologie Chottienne En ??? Vélos CD (album) cover


Sebkha Chott


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Eclectic Prog Team
1 stars It's difficult not to lose one's bearings listening to this album, which is made by a band that sets out to be as eclectic as possible. It quite sounds like one is changing radio stations in one's car, as the group will play something in one style and abruptly switch to a completely different genre. I do not mean subtle changes- I mean to say that this is a band that will play heavy metal one minute and polka the next, then decide to rap for a while, and then play some jazz, all with nary a transition. Such novelty is certainly amusing, but overstays its welcome after one song. It's a lot like watching one of those awful performers on a TV show like America's Got Talent, where someone combines juggling, cross-dressing, and yodeling, all while farting Ashlee Simpson songs and calls it a talent. Let me press my buzzer now.

"Bienvenue a Babylone" A biting riff a bit reminiscent of early King Crimson forms the basis for the saxophone's work. The vocal sections are more bizarre than the music, ranging from quasi-chants to the shouting over hospital room sounds. While the track begins excellently, it quickly turns into nonsensical music, like something out of a hellish circus.

"Pinok'io" Rambunctious music that still has that dark whimsy makes up the second piece. Unexpectedly, there occurs a French rap (seriously) that is rather amusing and enjoyable. Later, the band invokes a harpsichord-led bit of heavy metal with trombone quavering along, followed by an all out traditional jazz passage. If that isn't enough eclecticism, the band throws in an a cappella moment immediately followed by more giddiness similar to the introduction. Then with a slapped and popped bass, some wild funk ensues.

"Le Cirque Des Enfers" Awful-sounding vocals carry on over pseudo-heavy metal music. Overall, this is a terrible, ugly, and nonsensical piece. It's intriguing that I wrote that earlier remark before I realized that the title of this track is translated "The Circus of Hell."

"La Comtesse Del Amafia" Enraged blasts of overdriven guitars and a banged piano start this one. During many parts, it seems as though Sebkha Chott is attempting to emulate Koenjihyakkei.

"Carpe Diem" Distorted vocals and suppressed rock music begin this track. There's more French rapping, this time over quirky sounds that remind me of parts of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway by Genesis. Thereafter is some not unpleasant salsa-like piano work with a Latin rhythm. The lead guitar is similar in sound to modern Santana. A percussion solo leads to the conclusion of the song.

"La Chute D'Ohreland" The introduction to the final and longest track is intriguing, with a snake-like bass groove, light percussion, and strange electronic tones accompanied by brass instruments. There's a lot of wailing, a lot of brass blasts, some strange atmospheric passages, odd bass playing, and weird screeching, but not a lot I would consider music, let alone enjoyable.

Report this review (#256059)
Posted Monday, December 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album is in fact a newly recorded, plus slightly rearranged, version of Sebkha Chott's first effort "De l'Existence de la Mythologie", which was issued in 2004. According to the band members, they live in 'Ohreland', a self-invented imaginary world with its own mythology which, though, seems to exist only in their minds, because (still according to the musicians themselves) their lyrics are full of pornography and tyrannical, as they say, i.e. sadistic humor. What an awful topic for artistic self-expression! That said, I don't need to comprehend French to realize that the disc's lyrical content is indeed about something obscene. The group's description of its music (a blend of ultra-metal, avant-garde, jazz-punk, electronic and hip-hop, created, quoting them, "by the violent way of thinking") in most cases corresponds to the real state of affairs, too. However, only the last six tracks here are musical creations, whilst what we get before those is a male monolog addressed to some Julia, whom he occasionally calls a bitch in English. I don't know how often he cracks coarse jokes towards his invisible interlocutrix in French, but he certainly does, probably many times. I'm also displeased with the fact that the man's (monolithic of a sort) speech is located on 48 tracks-segments. I believe the band has done so in order to make this, originally a 7-piece, outing consist of f...king tens of tracks as their other releases do, though it's completely beyond me why. The real compositions range from 7 to 11 minutes, and the sound of most of those suggests that, traditionally for Sebkha Chott, quite a lot of jazz, chamber and rock players, as well as singers (of both sexes), are involved in the project. However, it is well known that "many" is not necessarily equivalent to "good", and here is just such a case. The vocals, the harmony ones included, are much less often cohesive than odd, to say the least, and the narratives - everywhere they are - remind me of clownery at best. The music as such leaves a better impression, albeit varying in quality on different tracks, two of which, 53 and 50, lie far beyond the progressive rock idiom. The first of those is basically a brainchild of electronic devices, deploying a drum machine, synth-bass, etc. In style it evokes a cross between e-music, so-called trance acid and a DJ's 'creation' and so is destined either for the dustbin or a discotheque which is the same thing in my view. The latter features most, if not all, of the band's players, and yet it's incredibly monotonous. To be more precise, it is so much hypnotically catchy that I would beware of playing it two, let alone three times running. Its primary theme is particularly obtrusive, reminding me strongly of an excerpt from the main soundtrack for Emir Kusturica's film "Time of Gypsies", which blends Serbian and Gypsy folk melodies and is rollicking, powerful and somewhat clamorous throughout. Full of unison solos and chords, the move or rather riff runs almost throughout the piece, and there are only three digressions from it - to rap (a jabber without any musical background), hip-hop and free jazz, all of which sound far-fetched and incongruous alike. Muzak is the word, a sort of putting on airs. The remaining four tracks, 49, 51, 52 and 54, all would have been good compositions had they been free of vocal extravaganzas and all verbal trash in general, all of which comes predominantly from the 'stronger' sex's representatives, though some parts of a mixed choir are also rather repellent. The music as such is indeed a cocktail of Punk Rock, Metal-In-Opposition and jazz with elements of electronic (but no 'discotheque' ones here, thankfully), and also classical (on the last track), which often seems to steer in the direction of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, but since the guitar riffing is thrash-based in all cases, i.e. within the RIO-related movements, too - is both straighter and more repetitive than that. PS: In the press kit Sebkha Chott describes all its releases in no other way than as masterpieces, particularly accentuating the hero of this occasion. However, "De la Persistance de la Mythologie" is mediocrity at best. Besides, considering the essence of the 'novelty' deployed, I find the debut's original version to be much better than this one.
Report this review (#1685831)
Posted Friday, January 27, 2017 | Review Permalink

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