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JEAN LOUIS

Jean Louis

RIO/Avant-Prog


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Jean Louis Jean Louis album cover
4.35 | 67 ratings | 10 reviews | 41% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music


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Studio Album, released in 2008

Songs / Tracks Listing


1. Tourlac (6:57)
2. Maximator (2:31)
3. ... (1:10)
4. Zakir (9:31)
5. ... (0:50)
6. Airbus (7:00)
7. Tranche (6:17)
8. Chasseurs En Transe (5:44)
9. ... (0:43)
10. Kasams (8:45)

Total Time 49:28

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians


- Aymeric Avice / trumpet
- Joachim Florent / double bass
- Francesco Pastacaldi / drums

Releases information

tranchemusic 2008

Thanks to Evolutionary_Sleeper for the addition
and to Evolutionary Sleeper for the last updates
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JEAN LOUIS Jean Louis ratings distribution


4.35
(67 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(41%)
41%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(21%)
21%
Good, but non-essential (27%)
27%
Collectors/fans only (6%)
6%
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)
5%

JEAN LOUIS Jean Louis reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by SaltyJon
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I must say I'm surprised no one has reviewed or even rated this gem before now. Jean Louis definitely started their recording career off very strongly with this album. It's is an intense ride through jazz, rock, and avant-garde styles, pulling you in from the very first notes and not letting you up for a breath of air until it's all over. All of the members of the band are incredibly talented on their respective instrument. Aymeric (trumpet) and Joachim (upright bass) both run their instruments through so many effects that sometimes they're not recognizable. Sometimes, in fact, I even mistook the bass for trumpet and the trumpet for bass. But oh boy, these guys know how to ride a groove in the way you'd least expect. Joachim is a really smart, agile bassist. How he does some of the stuff he does, I don't know, as I've played upright for a while and I can't come anywhere near some of the stuff he plays. Aymeric is definitely an intensely skilled trumpeter as well, though he doesn't go quite as far beyond what's humanly possible as often as Joachim does on the bass from what I can tell. Last but certainly not least is Francesco's drumming...he's really great as well. He manages to keep up with the other two and really knows how to hit the skins, and he always holds down a good beat. The music on this album isn't exactly what you'd expect to hear from a trumpet/upright bass/drums trio, instead it's something a lot more intense and, as far as I know, original. There aren't any bad tracks on this album, but among all the highlights I have to give special mention to "Zakir", "Airbus" and "Kasams", they really blow me away every time I listen.

So overall this is really aggressive, jazzy music from three guys who play exceptionally well together, and whose future works I'm eagerly looking forward to. This is undoubtedly one of the best albums of the past decade and my favorite from 2008. Five stars for a masterpiece of progressive rock and an incredible debut.

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Review by Evolutionary Sleeper
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Jean Louis's self-titled debut merges avant-jazz, math rock and noise into a stylish and highly energetic whole that kicks your ass from start to finish. This three-piece, consisting of Aymeric Avice on trumpet, Joachim Florent on double bass and Francesco Pastacaldi on drums, creates an enormous sound with their heavy, groove laden melodies and tasteful electronics. The players here are really top-notch musicians and know how to play their respective instruments. The rhythm section likes to play math rock-esque grooves, while the noisy trumpet either joins in, or adds flourishes over the top with the use of a mic and effects pedals. This rhythm section rivals that of any of the great bands from the 70's, magma included and they rock out harder than most so-called rock bands out there. The drumming on this album is some of the best in any genre, but Joachim Florent on bass is really the glue that hold the band together. He is an absolute magician, changing from finger to bow and even thumping his bass with a drum stick on the song Airbus, his constantly shifting rhythms and deep grooves are really impressive to listen to and really brings a cohesiveness to the overall sound of the band.

The album starts off with the track Tourlac and what a start it is! This track really gets the album off to a rolling start with a screeching trumpet flowing into an incessant bass drum that soon gives way to a stop start section with all three instruments playing together. The bass and drums continue of a sick groove while the trumpet goes on a tangent, using electronics that sounds like multiple distorted trumpets all playing in unison. The song then moves into a quiet section with the bass playing a slow, chilled out rhythm while the trumpet adds various electronic flourishes. The track eventually builds and builds back to the original groove with a slight slowing down of tempo here and speeding up there and then winds down into a quiet ending with the trumpet and bass.

Maximator, starts with a somewhat slow and low key groove from the bass and drums which is then rudely interrupted by a howling trumpet that comes in from nowhere and transforms the song into a noisy beast. This is certainly the most aggressive track on the album and moves along quickly like a thrash metal song until its untimely end where the trumpet fades back out into the darkness. The first of the untitled tracks is a minimalist interval that serves the purpose of bringing the tracks together, whether it is successful is up to debate, but it is by no means unpleasant and is over soon enough. It consists of a heartbeat followed by speedy tapping on the cymbals and a moaning, creaking bass in the background.

The third track on the album called Zakir, begins with a serene bass playing by itself and is joined by a marching snare that is then soon accompanied by Aymeric's trumpet that plays in unison with Francesco's drums. The bass soon joins in the march and a siren then sounds announcing the start of an unexpected bass solo where Joachim's groove is embellished with tiny guitar-like effects and ghostly howls from the trumpet. The rest of the band then joins in and they play a wonderful , distorted, mid-paced groove together that eventually evolves into a into a blistering tempo that really makes the heart pump and then back into a quiet section with the bass thumping quietly while the trumpet plays a soft tune. The song ultimately regains its momentum and then ends with a stylish thud.

After another untitled track very similar to the first, the band performs Airbus. This is the real standout track on the album, by means of its incredible groovyness and suberb angular melodies. It launches with a groove (there's that word again!) in which all three instruments participate, and melts into a subdued free jazz-esque section until the Joachim announces the return of the marvelous math rocky rhythm that dominates much of the song with the pounding of a drumstick on his stand up bass. They continue of this super sweet groove until the trumpet plays a kind of rolling circular pattern where the music comes into a sort of free-jazz section. The drums play and the bass pulses as they build into a running start as the trumpet screams over top of them, shouting into the mic. The swinging groove returns and becomes faster and ever faster and frantically runs to the finish line, ending in a noisy mess of muddled sound.

Tranche is another terrific track that blends heavy riffs and intense jazz into a wonderful combination. The beginning is a heap of different sounds floating in and out as the bass is bowed in a steady fashion. The track progresses to a pulsating rhythm and gets really cooking about midway through, where the trumpet pumps out more guitar riffs and the the drummer constantly pounds on the snares. This song is Aymeric's finest as his trumpet soars above the constantly shifting backing rhythms.

Chasseurs En Transe is started with the marching of the snare drum and the track is set in motion by a constantly thumping bass drum. The song rolls along at a good pace with the horn screeching and wailing all over the place. This section is a real thumper that moves into one of the most swinginest sections on the album before making room for one of the free jazz-like parts of it. The track ends with the return of the original melody and a bass that fades out.

Another untitled and then the finale of the album, a song called Kasams. A song that starts with several loud bangs that shifts into a rapid tempo. The bass throbs and the trumpet plays, sounding like many, as the song then dissolves into a pulsating bass where the drums cease and eerie noises creep in and out. The tune builds back up and the drums return with a flurry of notes and beats that takes the tune to even greater heights. The band continues on a scorching pace, deconstructs it, only to build it back up again. They conclude it with a huge breakdown, a few minutes of silence, a solo trumpet and then a bass solo as an afterthought to thank the listener.

Jean Louis's debut is nothing short of spectacular and is one of the finest RIO/Avant-prog albums to be found anywhere. The band is definitely not one to be missed, with their great interplay and undeniably weighty grooves and will appeal to jazz, noise, and math rock fans. This album is an absolutely essential one for any serious collector of avant-garde music and to any prog fan in general.

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Review by VanderGraafKommandöh
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Sometimes I think originality in music has died. Then something comes along that blows that thought away. Jean Louis have done just that. I must first thank Evolutionary_Sleeper for introducing this band to me. When I first heard this album I was pretty much sat with my mouth gaping throughout. As my friend and P.A. Colleague also mentions, this album is all about the GROOVE! Every track (except the incidental tracks) makes me either tap my foot, lightly headbang or flail my arms around due to the rhythmical nature. Indeed, driving whilst listening to this album is even more portentous, especially on a clear road.

The band is a three-piece from France. The noise they create would make you think otherwise however. Joachim Florent (upright bass), Francesco Pastacaldi (drums) and Aymeric Avice (trumpet) are all highly competent musicians and all gel together without any issues. Seeing them play live just adds to the Jean Louis experience too. You get to see how Avice uses effects pedals on his trumpet to create a plethora of noises. The same also applies for Florent, who at one point makes his bass sound like a trumpet. It is worth noting that Aymeric Avice has guested with Magma and also performs with a more generic jazz-orientated collective without his sound effects.

I shall not go into too much of a track-by-track analysis, as this has already been done in Evolutionary_Sleeper's wonderful and thoughtful review. I shall briefly, however, try and mention some of the highlights.

Tourlac is a tour-de-force opener. This track is also a perfect indicator of what the rest of the album sounds like, so if you do not like this, I doubt you will enjoy the rest of the album. It is certainly not for everyone. All tracks (except the incidental tracks) are ballsier, noisier and more groove-laden than most metal bands. I guess a band to compare them to would be Italian band Zu (especially their album Carboniferous). Yet they differ greatly to Zu as well. They are a unique band. Even Italian band Tom Moto (who are often compared to Jean Louis) are unable to sound as original and tight as them.

It still surprises me now how sometimes Avice's trumpet sounds like a guitar or even at one stage, a harmonica. The start-stop, almost math-rock grooves means that this is not just a simple noise-riddled jazz record. The band are clever in how they subtly juxtapose several different genres with ease and often without the listeners full awareness. One moment it's noisy, the next serene, the next jazzy and thoughtful and the next a cluster[%*!#] of noise again. Yet there is always a groove. That's the key to Jean Louis. It's not twiddly avant-garde nonsense and neither is it free jazz. As Derek Trucks delightfully named one of his albums "Joyful Noise", I think he was pre-empting this album. As this is precisely what it is.

Maximator is perhaps the weakest track but only because I feel it is too short. Musically it's as brilliant as the others. Noisy, brash and what I would describe as math-jazz at times. Yet at the same time, the shortness of the track also seems to fit perfectly. It starts off slow with Florent's wonderful bass playing and Pastacaldi's cymbal bashing... until Avice starts playing. Then it bursts into life and does not relent until the end. Maybe it is not too short after all!

Zakir is the longest track on the album and as is often the case with music that is so enjoyable, it does not feel long at all. Again, the relentlessness does not cease. This is a jazzier track and is a slight let-up on the noise front. Yet his is the grooviest track so far. One specific moment with Florent's bass playing makes me rock backwards and forwards. Delightful! I also happen to love the weird ghoulish noises Avice creates on his trumpet. I shall call these noises Scorched Earth. It really does sound like he could start a fire with all that blowing! I especially love the jazziness on this. Avice has a wonderful solo and it's a lovely bit of respite until the awkward yet groove-laden rhythms start once more.

Airbus was the first track I heard by the band due to a live performance found on YouTube. So naturally this track often turns out to be my favourite. However, my favourite composition seems to change with every listen. This is their most accessible track, I feel yet by no means make that sound as if it's weak. Florent's bass is fantastic on here yet all he is doing mostly is tapping a bow against the strings (well, he's doing more than that but it looks easy live!). Avice also makes his trumpet sound like... I don't know what... Elephants, guitars and general otherworldly-ness.

Tranche was and still is one of my favourite tracks. Perhaps the most avant-garde piece on the album. The intro consists of high-notes on the trumpet, weird bow playing on the upright bass and scrappy cymbal crashing. Then, as is expected, the groove starts and continues on and on until reaching a what some would feel was a malaise. Then of course, it slows down again into a parasitic avant-garde fantasy.

Chasseurs en Transe starts off sounding like a marching band until until the rest of the band decide to go a bit nuts. This track features my favourite Avice trumpet solo. A distortion-filled scorched earth fusion. This is the track also where you realise how fantastic Pastacaldi is on the sticks. He's very much an integral part of the band but as many people will tend to focus on the trumpet first, then it is not always obvious at first how much he keeps the band together. The same also applies for Florent on the bass, of course. This piece is my favourite and brings the band together more than on any other track, in my opinion.

Kasams is the final track and is what I'd call a punk influenced introduction yet also with some metal influences. Yet it sounds like neither of those two genres. It is the most laid back of all the tracks. Much more akin to heavier post-rock and avant-prog at times. It's a nice let-up after the onslaught of the previous tracks. Of course, it also has it's moments too. It's the perfect closer though.

It is obvious the band thought about track order on this album. In my opinion that goes a long way in my appreciation for an album. As for the incidental tracks: they serve their purpose. Indeed, the heartbeat intro of the first untitled track is the same as the ending of the final untitled track. The way Pastacaldi plays the cymbals on these tunes reminds me somewhat of Battles though. Not a bad thing, however!

So overall this album is superb. A 5/5 from start to finish. Even what I feel about Maximator being too short, is unjustified when it comes to the whole album. When the album finishes, I don't feel it's too short. Only when the track finishes, do I feel that.

This is definitely my album of 2008 (only I first heard it in 2009) and is most definitely in my top 10 albums of all-time.

A very high accolade indeed for such a modern album. It just proves to me that music originality has not died. They have a second album due in 2010 and I very much look forward to it. I do fear though that it may not ever reach the sheer beauty and excellence of this, their self-titled album.

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Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars JEAN LOUIS are an all instrumental trio out of France. Drums, bass and trumpet are the instruments of choice here. What I find unique is the boxes and devices that are used on the trumpet and slide trumpet which makes it sound like there's electronics involved.This is chaotic at times as well as complex and intricate. Powerful is another word i'd use.

"Tourlac" has some nice prominant bass around a minute as the drums pound and the trumpet makes these ungodly sounds. A calm before 2 1/2 minutes as "it" starts to come back to life after 3 1/2 minutes. "Maximator" has intricate percussion and chunky bass then the beast (trumpet) arrives after a minute and all hell breaks loose. "..." features percussion and the sound of the sleeping beast. "Zakir" opens with bass as drums join in then trumpet. The sound gets intricate at 1 1/2 minutes then it settles back again. It's building. Intense stuff. It settles down after 7 minutes then kicks back in a minute later. "..." is an experimental piece with a heart beat-like ending.

"Airbus" has these quick little outbursts as sounds come and go. It settles back and we get a great sound 4 minutes in as the trumpet goes insane. It's slower but heavier before 6 minutes. "Tranche" has these intricate sounds early on. It's fuller after 2 minutes. Heavier a minute later then chaos after 4 minutes. "Chasseurs En Transe" has this rumbling bass and drum soundscape as the trumpet lights it up over top.Then it all turns more powerful. A calm before 4 minutes then it builds. It's built ! "..." is experimental as the trumpet cries out. "Kasams" is hard and heavy from the get go. Atmosphere and a calm a minute in. It kicks back in after 2 1/2 minutes. Another calm around 5 minutes but not for long as it turns heavy. Check out the drumming 7 minutes in ! Silence then trumpet that sound normal for once after 8 minutes.

This is a killer album that I originally gave 4 stars to, but here I am less than a year later to bump that up to 5 stars.

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Review by Starhammer
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Going overground...

'Jean Louis' is the debut album from the French trio of the same name. All three are brilliant musicians and have won coveted awards at La Defense jazz festival both individually, and a group. I first discovered them through the list of "TOP 100 Little Known But Highly Rated Studio Albums of All Time", which is an absolute honey-pot of hidden gems. 'Jean Louis' had remained there for three years, most recently flying high in the #1 position, however as this is its 21st rating/review, it has now been released into the wilderness to fend for itself. I'm hoping this lack of exposure doesn't mean that fewer people discover 'Jean Louis' as it's a fantastic record and every home should have one!

The sound really is quite unique, heavily based in free Jazz, but with many RIO signatures as well. Jean Louis cite both Miles Davis and Meshuggah amongst their influences, so this gives you a taste of what to expect! Never before have I heard music which borders on dissonance but is also intensely catchy! It's intense too, really intense, like a John Zorn outburst, but more structured and persistent. Minute long ... interludes break up the album to give you a bit of a breather. As for stand out tracks, Tourlac and Kazams have the greatest impact for me, but there really is no weak material.

The Verdict: Spread the word.

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Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Jean Louis offer up an avant-fusion sound which draws deeply from avant-prog and Rock In Opposition to offer a decidedly unusual sound. Imagine one of Miles Davis' fusion-era lineups attempting to cover Larks' Tongues-era King Crimson, the harsher side of Magma, or Western Culture-era Henry Cow and you perhaps come close to what's going on here. Even that description doesn't quite sum up the diverse sound of the group; whilst they spend the majority of their time with at least one foot in the wildest frontiers of jazz territory, in some passages they seem to leave jazz behind entirely, yet at the same time they do a good job of integrating all the different sounds they call on into a cohesive whole.

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Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team
2 stars While Jean Louis is a display of skilled avant-guard jazz performers and performances, I do not find this music very enjoyable--not even the awe- and/or laugh-effect carries the day for me. The bass and drums are too chunky and loud (respectively), making any other performances hard to concentrate on (for me) and, of course, the music is totally lacking in what some listeners enjoy most: melody. It is not lacking for effects, glitz, vim and vigor, but there are no memorable, 'hummable' melodies or riffs to take with you at the end of the listening experience. The four shorts (three of which are titled, "...") are either ear-splitting wank-offs ("Maximator" [6/10]) or pure practice pieces. As much as I've grown to appreciate and even enjoy the avant-gard music scene (prog, jazz, and classical), this is not an album that I find myself drawn into. Clear recording doesn't mask the odd choices for sound effects and loose song constructs. Wild elephants, trains, snakes, military vehicles and gorillas run rampant through my headphones as I try to get into or enjoy this music. At least Adrian Belew has some melody to suck you into his musical menagerie. Having owned the album for six months now I feel qualified to render my opinion. This is music for the bored, highly adventurous and intellectual musical listener. Yugen, Rational Diet, Swans, The Cardiacs, or even Factor Burzaco aren't as difficult to listen to, understand, and enjoy, IMHO. This is more comparable to Ornette Coleman.

The calmer "Zakir" (8/10) and more steady rhythmically "Chasseurs en transe" (8/10) are the songs I find most close to being enjoyable on the album.

Usually I would rate an album like this with four stars because I appreciate the musicianship and give the benefit of the doubt that it's music is just too far beyond my naïve musical knowledge and comprehension but, sorry, my conscience just won't let me do it. This time I truly do not understand the hype.

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Latest members reviews

5 stars the best RIO album ever!! the 2008 Jean Louis's album called "Jean Louis" it's a wonderful masterpiece of rock in opposition music, i'm a hugh fan of Univers Zero, Art Zoyd, Frank Zappa, Sleepytime Gorilla Museun and many other RIO bands, but definitely Jean Louis is the most amazing album in the ... (read more)

Report this review (#992987) | Posted by Zeuhl Glikowski II | Sunday, July 07, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Maybe "earthquake" could be a good word to describe this amazing debut album by Jean Louis. Even when you can find recognizable influences of 80's and 90's avant garde and RIO bands (basicly Present, Doctor Nerve and The Muffins) the truth is Jean Louis sounds very refreshing and renewed, bring ... (read more)

Report this review (#301984) | Posted by progadicto | Monday, October 04, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Having originated from France in the wake of the Zeuhl, RIO and Avant-Garde luminaries of the 70s and 80s, Jean Louis' spectacularly impressive brand of avant-jazz should hardly come as a surprise to anybody. Only a three-piece, Jean Louis still manages to sound large, loud and grand. Due to the p ... (read more)

Report this review (#285535) | Posted by Triceratopsoil | Monday, June 07, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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