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ANAMORPHOSE

Jazz Rock/Fusion • France


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Anamorphose biography
Anamorphose started in 1982 when François Dumont d'Ayot met Olivier Lamorthe after a standard jazz concert on which he played on. They decided to try and play something more creative with an emphasis on unconventional time signatures. Their first incarnation was Olivier Lamorthe on keys, François Dumont d'AYOT on saxophone and flute, Philippe VILLIOT on violin (coming from irish and greek folk music), a self made drummer they called "SHERPA" who disappeared from the music scene very early and a female bass player called Odile ESCHENBRENNER who also left pretty early on. The second incarnation was Eric BAILLES on bass, who played with the band alternately along with Nathanael VEYRAT (who appeared on their only album) and finally Christophe TORION on drums. In 30.10.1986 they have recorded their only album live, it was mixed at Studio Dagobert on the 14th and 15th November and issued in December that year. In 1988 Philippe VILLIOT left, and the band continued as a quartet for a few years before teaming up with guitar player Eric MINEN. ANAMORPHOSE made some other recordings in a more professional way but those were never released. In 1997 the band came to full stop.


::Written by Sagichim::

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4.20 | 12 ratings
Palimpseste
1986

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ANAMORPHOSE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Palimpseste by ANAMORPHOSE album cover Live, 1986
4.20 | 12 ratings

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Palimpseste
Anamorphose Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sagichim
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

5 stars A smoking gem!

It's a real shame Anamorphose have never released a proper studio album, the only recording available from this french group is this live performance, which took place in October 1986. Although you can definitely feel the tremendous energies coming out of these guys, and aside from the audience clapping at the end of each song, it's hard to notice this was recorded live. The production and recording is surprisingly clear and fresh, and the performance is near flawless, indicating that those guys were playing together quite a lot or they are simply professional. The line up includes bass and drums, violin, sax, flute, piano and keys. Nope no guitars this time to interfere with their smooth sound, but don't get the wrong picture here, guitar or no guitar this one really cooks! It's one of those albums when you don't miss or don't need any guitars. The band began playing together in 1982 when François Dumont d'Ayot met Olivier Lamorthe in a jazz concert he played in, and decided to play more creative sort of music with asymetric rythms. In 1988 when Philippe Villiot left, they were reduced to a quartet, playing together for a few years until teaming up with guitarist Eric Minen, Anamorphose finally disbanded for good in 1997, leaving us with only this live recording.

The music is mainly instrumental Jazz Rock Fusion but not the bla bla kind, there's no pointless endless soloing, and the songs doesn't sound the same, something that happens a lot in this genre. Each song is built around one or two ideas, which is being explored and improvised on. The performance by each member is simply stellar. Nathanaël Veyrat is a very competent bass player, he delivers some excellent workouts and can be quite funky at times. François Dumont and Philippe Villiot are maybe the most dominant members, playing the sax and violin respectively. They're playing most of the solos and deliver a dazzling performance, every one of them takes the spotlight when needed and lights up the place. I can't tell who's performance I like better and that's already a good thing, the sax has all kinds of moods from quiet jazzy playing to intense shrieking sounds, my favorite is when he goes into a playful mood and just swings like a cool cat. Same goes for the violin who simply smokes!! Olivier Lamorthe is handling the keys and piano and doing a spectacular job delivering cool jazzy keys and some inspiring piano runs. Of course it all wouldn't be perfect without a good drummer on board, Christophe Torion is very creative and handles the asymetric rhythms so easily, it's a pure joy listening to him. As I mentioned, this is not a soloing fest, there's a lot of playing beyond that which explores all kinds of ideas, melodies and themes and that's why it all sounds very varied and never tiring to listen to.

What makes this album so unique are all the spices added to the main dish, this is not just straight forward modern jazz improvisation, there are all kinds of influences mixed inside, the arabic/middle eastern flavour is popping out every now and then, and gives an extra zing to the music, there is also some traditional spanish influences that adds a lot of character to the overall sound. There are more flavours I detect but can't put my finger on them exactly. There are no weak songs or any weak moments through the entire album, it's all essentially constructed and carefully organized and played. I love how they control their rhythm, going from pastoral beautiful interludes to very intense jamming, where saxophone and violin are tossing the ball from one to the other. It's clear that these songs were carefully and precisely written, leaving every member the exact amount of space to shine and improvise as he pleases.

While there are many jazz rock fusion albums out there, I don't think anything sounds quite like Anamorphose, this is so unique and fresh that it quickly became one of my top albums in this genre. At first I thought rating it with 4 stars but repeated listenings for review purposes proved me that I can't find any flaws about this recording, and given the energetic performance, I can't rate it below 5. I must add a special thanks to François Dumont to which I've contact to get more info about the group, he was very kind to fill in the blanks and tell me his story. He has some more professional recordings of the band as he says, which I'll be glad to hear. So if you come across a copy, this would be a serious addition to your jazz rock fusion collection. 4.5 stars and Highly Recommended!!

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 Palimpseste by ANAMORPHOSE album cover Live, 1986
4.20 | 12 ratings

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Palimpseste
Anamorphose Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by OpethGuitarist
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A treasure.

After having this splendid album for several months thanks to the kind recommendations of our very own Avestin, my desire to explore jazz fusion has certainly increased. Upon listening there is little to distinguish this album as being live, given the wonderful production and impeccable playing, an incredibly well done live album. Much of this acts as an improv jam session, but it works so well and many of the tracks come with wonderful melodies from the variety of instruments on display here.

The drums here are most impressive to me, powerful yet not overbearing, providing many subtle textures that help bring the quality of the other instruments out. Triphrons is a personal favorite here, with a riff in the middle that I am most keen to, reminding me of a mixture of VDGG/zeuhl at around 7:30 in which continues to stun me. As a whole, the music is very upbeat, energetic, and acts as a work of musical zeal and freedom. Although it may be limited in terms of scope, concept, etc., by and large there is much here to gain from this experience not only as a listener but as a musician as well.

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 Palimpseste by ANAMORPHOSE album cover Live, 1986
4.20 | 12 ratings

BUY
Palimpseste
Anamorphose Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by avestin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars What a wonderful find!

I discovered this after reading a recommendation by Meidad Zacharia on an Israeli prog forum where he posted recommendations about French progressive music bands. He said that while this came out rather late (1986) this is a gem and a highly sought after record. Well naturally that got me looking for this and the hunt was very rewarding since this album is a delight.

Though this is a live recording, surprisingly, it doesn't sound so. Only when the crowd applauded at the end of each track, did I realize it is performed in front of a crowd. Their music has a fusion basis but there is more ingredients in those varied and rich compositions which are filled with goodies that are accessible and easily grab my mind. Those are delightful uplifting tunes with violin and saxophone that play together spinning the ball from one to the other.

Some words about several of the tracks: The second track Triphrons has a great bass line, as if this were a fast speed Zeuhl bass line. The clarinet (or whatever that instrument is) spirals around the bass tune and goes about jamming and dancing all throughout the track. At a certain point the violin joins in with its semi-out-of-key sound which adds a special flavour to the music. After 5:20 the music seems to be over and a calm passage begins, and then a shift to the usual rhythm lead by a flute and sax (?); a part which alternates between slower, softer bits to quicker and more energetic mood. The third track, La Tuna, is probably my favourite. Opening quickly with great piano giving the basic tune and rhythm and the sax half-jamming, half playing its part around this. The piano is later let loose to have its own creativity spree. At around 3:28 the bass gives a great line which will make you shake your head to the rhythm and the sax beckons its call and its back to the main theme. The fourth track, Cache Cash, has a little funk mood in it and the bass and sax do a great work in providing a speedy, energetic mood. There is a short switch to jazz and after that the violin gives another visit with its special sound that shifts the mood slightly to a more awkward angle. Notice the bass work when the violin goes on with its joggling. When this is done another part prevails different from before which then succumbs back to the original theme. This track which is the shortest in the album, is also the most versatile and the one with most changes in moods in it. I think track five - Arsenic, and track six - Rondes De Nuit will please jazz lovers, as they have familiar moves, tunes and rhythms from that "side" of the fence. Arsenic is also the one with lowest average speed. not that this is a set back tune, but it is the one with the least spilling energy of all tracks. And it's a nice change in this mostly non- stop movement album. But it too has its faster moments.

While the basic theme of each track is probably set, there is room for some jamming and personal creativity and this gives it a free-spirit feel to it. I think the band enjoyed themselves here tremendously as the playing is very enthusiastic. And indeed the music itself is energetic, filled with life and vibe. This is the kind of music that can get you moving when you feel less willing to do so. Not frantic like music, but gets you motivated to go with it along its musical stream. I enjoy very much the musicianship here, especially the bass and violin. They do an excellent work, which amounts to more than half of the pleasure I derive from listening to this.

This is one album that should be reissued, as it is a gem that is shamefully unknown and this should not be so. A great addition to any music collection, not necessarily a prog one! (it is progressive music, though).

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