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ALPES & CATHERINE RIBEIRO

Psychedelic/Space Rock • France


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Alpes & Catherine Ribeiro picture
Alpes & Catherine Ribeiro biography
Led by Patrice Moullet, ALPES was founded in 1970 with Catherine Ribeiro as the lead singer. A very original band, highly prolific throughout the 70's and still alive. Their music is rather experimental and hard to define and involves folk, progressive and improvisation. Patrice Moullet is the inventor of several musical instruments amongst which include the "Cosmophone" and the "Percuphone". In a similar vocal style to Brigitte Fontaine, Catherine Ribeiro's low voice tone may also evoke Nico at times and is theatrical and declamatory. There's often an intense dramatic tension in the singing. The debut albums are the best, and "Paix", with its two long suites, is considered the most progressive and is the best one to start with.


Bio Written by Oliverstoned

Born in Lyon during the war, Catherine Ribeiro started her career in acting, even shooting a film for JL Godart, Les Carabiniers, he met future writing partner Patrice Moullet (then under the name of Albert Juroost), before she started singing, recording a bunch of singles throughout the 60's, both in Portuguese (her parent's origins) and in French. These singles are now compiled in a set called Libertés. In the late 60's, Moullet asks her to starts a band, first named 2Bis (one record released under that moniker), than Alpes, where she'll be the front person. The group was lucky enough to participated to one of the very few festival still organized in France in the early 70's (most of them being banned to avoid further youth/student riots after May 68 both the group and festival getting the "go-ahead" from authorities a few hours before starting) in Port Leucate, then Avignon, playing to huge crowds and getting wide notice of the public.

During the early 70's, Catherine Ribeiro & Alpes recorded a string of stunning albums, starting with Ame Debout and ending with Le Temps De L'autre, the most remarkable being Rat Débile Et Homme Des Champs, with stunning tracks such as Poeme Non-Epique and Ere De La Putréfaction (sic). The group is then centered around Catherine, (guitarist) Moullet and (keyboardist) Lemoine (future Gong) and Motron, but by 76, only Lemoine remained with Catherine. The later 70's will see albums getting wiser in terms of provocations, but will gain in musician abilities and spectrum, but Ribeiro started recording solo albums dedicated to poets (Jacqueries for Jacques Prévert) and semi-anarchists singers (Ferré, Brel etc..).

In 8i, the group will disban...
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ALPES & CATHERINE RIBEIRO discography


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ALPES & CATHERINE RIBEIRO top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.89 | 16 ratings
Catherine Ribeiro + 2Bis
1969
3.52 | 16 ratings
No. 2
1970
3.98 | 25 ratings
Ame Debout
1971
4.14 | 34 ratings
Paix
1972
3.89 | 16 ratings
Le Rat Débile Et L'homme Des Champs
1974
3.29 | 12 ratings
(Libertes?)
1975
3.11 | 8 ratings
Le Temps De L'Autre
1977
3.02 | 9 ratings
Passions
1979
3.02 | 8 ratings
La Deboussole
1980

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ALPES & CATHERINE RIBEIRO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 No. 2 by ALPES & CATHERINE RIBEIRO album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.52 | 16 ratings

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No. 2
Alpes & Catherine Ribeiro Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars As the 60s ceded into the 70s, change was afoot and after an explosion of creativity bursting through the floodgates in 1969, many artist's who had managed to find their own sound were now eking out all the creative potential lurking in every nook and cranny of their imaginations. While much of this was taking place in the English speaking world, other nations were forging their own unique visions of musical liberation and France was certainly not shying away from delivering some of the most original artists of the day. CATHERINE RIBEIRO + 2 BIS released their debut album the same year and had garnered enough interest and intrigue to sally forth and evolve their bizarre psychedelic avant-folk sounds to the next level. As the decade changed so did their name and they dropped the 2 BIS and adopted the new band name CATHERINE RIBEIRO + ALPES which they cited as being an inspiration for aiming high, spreading your winds and flying where no other freaks have flied before.

On their second release with the not so original title NO. 2, RIBEIRO once again joins her musical mentor Patrice Moullet who created his own unique instruments and wrote all the music while RIBEIRO provided all lyrics and vocals. Although they are exclusively in the French language (with the exception of the final track "Ballada Das Aguas" which is in Portuguese), RIBEIRO's emotional wrenching vocal styles nonetheless transcend language barriers and inject their essence directly into the heart. Other than RIBEIRO and Moullet, the band is an entirely new set of characters. On this one Denis Cohen contributes organ and percussion while Portuguese guitar parts are provided by Pires Moliceiro and Robles Monteiro. Moullet outdoes himself again by contributing all classical guitar, organ, vocals and electric lyre. While the instruments are mostly the same, the trumpet has been banished as well as the cosmophone. NO. 2 has a distinctly different sound from album one.

The main difference between NO 2 and album one is the inclusion of lots of Portuguese and classical guitars as heard on the opening "Prélude" but after the short intro the psychedelic folk enters the scene with a jittery organ line and irregular percussive accompaniment with RIBEIRO treating us to her brash vocal bravado as the rhythmic pulse slowly builds. There is virtually no traditional songwriting structures involved and a frenetic rhythmic patterns becomes hypnotic while organs and percussion dance sporadically around the musical palette of rhythmic drive. "15 Août 1970" displays RIBEIRO's sensual side as she delivers a tender vocal performance to a classical guitar accompaniment. "Silen Voy Kathy" is one of the freakier tracks with an incessant electronic lyre going for the emotional jugular while RIBEIRO dishes out more lamenting and lugubrious vocal lines.

The true gem on this wild album comes in the form of the 18 minute and 34 second long "Poème Non Épique" which which is about the painful lament of a young women in the middle of being left by her significant other and as the electronic lyre, rumbling percussion and ominous organs slowly portend the emotional breakdown to come, the track ratchets up the intensity incrementally before being joined by RIBEIRO's vibrantly passionate vocals that offer a the whole gamut of emotions that verge on the insane. As the music churns its no wave type of musical developments, RIBEIRO's vocal antics become more and more intense to the point where she completely breaks down as if we are listening to some bizarre occult ritual that placates the spiritual world supplicating a vengeful outcome. The album ends with a beautiful little Portuguese Fado cover by José Afonso and then it ends leaving you what in the world you just listened to! Although NO 2 doesn't seem as cohesive as the following "Paix" and "Ame Debout" it is certainly an entertaining listen that mixes and melds the avant-folk with the truly lysergic and psychedelic weaving in healthy doses of an early no wave song structure approach and the most unique French chanson techniques ever recorded. NO 2 is simply an excellent sophomore album that the adventurous musical freaks will devour like finger sandwiches at cocktail parties.

 Catherine Ribeiro + 2Bis  by ALPES & CATHERINE RIBEIRO album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.89 | 16 ratings

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Catherine Ribeiro + 2Bis
Alpes & Catherine Ribeiro Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars As the 60s marched closer towards the 70s, musicians became braver and more daring with each year finding ever stranger forms of music evolving and splintering off into distinct new sub genres of rock and folk music. 1969 was one of those years where the floodgates opened and it seemed that any old experimental approach and musical development were fair game. In addition to the mainstream pop and rock of the day were a whole array of discursive bands that created new music for a new era. Bands like East of Eden and King Crimson sparked a new complexity in the evolving world of progressive rock, Black Sabbath formed and took darkness and heaviness in music to new levels and folk music was ever furthering itself from its roots with artists like Tim Buckley taking the music of the people into far more turgid arenas. Unbeknownst to the mainly English speaking world where these developments originated were many other musical entities around the world catching the wave and creating their own new music for a new era only in their native tongues and lands. CATHERINE RIBEIRO was one such artist who has been called the French version of Nico, the successor to Edith Piaf and also as a prog rock sorceress who cast enchanting spells to summon revolution.

The unique style of CATHERINE RIBEIRO was a product of her traumatic upbringing. Born in Lyon, France in 1941, not only did she suffer from the early traumas of WW2 with a constant barrage of bombings as the daughter of newly established immigrants from Portugal, but she also experienced such traumas as her baby brother dying at a young age as well as mental instability which landed her into psychiatric wards where she was subjected to intense sessions of electro shock therapy. The culmination of these incidents would be expressed through her various artistic endeavors. Although she started out as an actor, by the mid-60s she began to take interest in music and once she met Patrice Moullet, the chemistry immediately clicked and together they would synergize their talents to create a totally new kind of freaky psychotomimetic musical creation that even to the present day stands out as quite unique. Despite members coming and going throughout their eleven year run, RIBEIRO and Moullet would remain together for the entire run. The band better known as CATHERINE RIBEIRO + ALPES starting on album "No. 2" initially began under the CATHERINE RIBEIRO + 2BIS moniker which on their eponymous debut album cover proudly presents the "Pop Free" stamp of approval.

From the very first sounds experienced, it's obvious that this was out of left field for the time and to this day remains so. With RIBEIRO blasting out her declamatory style of semi-sung, semi-spoken lyrical content completely in the French language we are instantly transported to another musical world where pain and disdain of the injustices of the world are suddenly transmogrified into musical majesty. "Lumiere Écarlate" (Scarlet Light) begins with the avant-garde instrumental sounds of Moullet's hypnotic self-invented cosmophone along with tribal drumming and RIBEIRO's spectral passion-fueled chants that sound as if they are supplicating the universe for some kind of healing ritual or some other occult scene. While "S?ur De Race" (Pedigree Sister) is less haunting it continues the lugubriousness as RIBEIRO seduces the listener with her soft sensual vocal style that belies the following track "Les Fées Carabosses" (The Wicked Fairies) where shows how versatile RIBEIRO is and displays her full bravado in bombastic rants and moody guffaws where she can create intricate melodies only to shatter them in a fit of rage in a full-voiced madwoman ebullition followed by screams, hysterical laughs and other vocal madness.

It's not only RIBEIRO's vocal antics that stand out and demand the listener's attention. The otherworldly sounds of Patrice Moullet's homemade instruments are equally wild. While RIBEIRO handles all lyrics and vocals throughout the band's existence, it was Moullet who wrote all the music and invented several instruments such as the percuphone, cosmophone and orgolia that give this music the most unique and unparalleled sound in the progressive music scene. This one / two punch guarantees the listener will be taken somewhere they never knew existed: a strange new world where the psychedelic and avant-folk meet in the lysergic renegade poetic wilderness. Along with the experimental instrumentation and larger than life vocal contributions, the album is also filled with all kinds of psychedelic techniques much used by other acts of the era including backmasking, tribal drumming and hypnotic folk guitar sequences. Some of the tracks are sweet and sensual and others come completely unhinged however the music always remains in a rhythmic harmony of some sort while RIBEIRO herself is the one who dishes out the bouts with chaos and mental instability. CATHERINE RIBEIRO + 2 BIS is a very interesting late 60s release that showed all of the band's strengths from the beginning, however they were just getting started and as good as this debut album is, it's not as well accomplished as some of the albums to come. Album number one is certainly an entertaining musical trip that not only delivered ample amounts of originality but managed to boil the avant-garde ingredients into a digestible stew that sounds like a completely mature product.

 Paix by ALPES & CATHERINE RIBEIRO album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.14 | 34 ratings

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Paix
Alpes & Catherine Ribeiro Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This sounds like a cross between Acid Folk and Psychedelic music, there's very much a hippyish vibe here especially on the first two tracks. The highlights though are the final two songs that clock in at over 15 1/2 minutes and 24 1/2 minutes respectively. Man Catherine is a beautiful woman, just a unique and gorgeous face while her voice is strong and deep.

"Roc Alpin" opens with guitar, bass and drums as vocal melodies come and go. An upbeat tune with keyboard-like sounds that come and go. This one's fairly straightforward and there's a 60' vibe with the vocals. "Jusqu'a Ce Que La Force De T'aimer Me Manque" opens with strummed guitar and vocals as the organ floats in. Keyboard-like sounds come and go too. Vocal melodies follow then back to vocals. The Psych/ Folk flavour to this one is strong. "Paix" has a sparse beginning with percussion-like sounds and atmosphere. The organ becomes more prominent then it's fuzzed out before 4 minutes. Nice! Catherine starts to speak before 6 minutes as the guitar melodies come and go while the bass, drums and organ continue. This is trippy yet her words seem serious. She starts to get more theatrical before 10 minutes and the music also turns more powerful. Love the fuzzed out organ that returns. Some almost avant sounding guitar around 11 1/2 minutes. Vocal melodies are back at 13 minutes. A psychedelic beauty right there, almost perfect and my favourite song on here.

"Un Jour... La Mort" is spacey with trippy guitar sounds to start. Vocal melodies and a change in sound after 4 minutes as bass and strummed guitar help out as well. Love the organ-like sounds after 5 minutes and also a minute after that. Vocals arrive just before 7 1/2 minutes and there's lots of depth instrumentally as she sings so beautifully. She starts to sing with more passion at 8 1/2 minutes. The vocals then stop as the music winds down until there's silence after 10 1/2 minutes. Then it kicks in with percussion, vocals, organ and more. Intense and determined is the sound here. Suddenly they seem to jam as the vocals stop. Organ and drums stand out here. The vocals are almost drugged-out sounding around 15 minutes, then she sings normally and man this all sounds so amazing. Silence before 18 1/2 minutes then solo picked guitar takes over. Strummed guitar and vocals follow. Bass and organ also join in. Some deranged vocal yells come and go over the last few minutes.

This is such an enjoyable album and it's often adventerous both vocally and instrumentally. A solid 4 stars and well worth tracking down.

 Paix by ALPES & CATHERINE RIBEIRO album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.14 | 34 ratings

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Paix
Alpes & Catherine Ribeiro Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Guldbamsen
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

4 stars I'm prolonging my stay in France for the next couple of reviews (and of course for the fragrant opium cheeses) this fabulously outrageous album called Paix came out in 1972, and believe you me when I say that it's formed in the hands of a group you've never heard the likes of in your life. With the progressive folk scene frolicking in all kinds of constellations - the vibe coming out of Germany felt particularly hippiyish - let's all get together and sit on the lawn, while a good deal of the music coming from the British isles suddenly had changed - fast becoming more introvert and "ugly" in its expression - epitomized by the likes of Comus, Jan Dukes de Grey and Tea & Symphony. Catherine Ribeirou belongs to these mad cats, and with her band Alpes - formerly known as 2+bis - the music coming out of your speakers when you hopefully decide to take the plunge - sounds like a haunted and slow motion catatonic version of Edith Piaf eroding through the music like pouring acid of sand.

The entire album revolves around simple, yet obnoxiously brilliant guitar patterns that chuff along like a decisively more edgy acoustic Keith Richards. Even the finger play is spot on! Hurling in a sea of mist - the psychedelic and often luminous fizzing organs snake effortlessly underneath, above and right in front of the guitar - creating an image of a wild frenzied kid haphazardly in circles with a guitar on his back - swooping about the stoic submersible rugs of furry glistening sound being hurled your way from those organs.

The focal point of everything here is the terrorising vocals of Ribeirou. Man, I'll tell you - sometimes she sounds like an androgynous Gestapo interrogator with big booming demonic obsessions darting out of her like fountains of beautiful darkness. These are the sort of vocals that echo Edith Piaf standing on top a skyscraper summoning a dangerous and desperately edgy vibe.

The first track Roc Alpin immediately gives you the impression that you're going to hear a folk rock album with somewhat strange fittings glued onto various other musical surfaces you didn't catch the first time around - but then again the first time you hear this record, it'll stop you dead in your tracks - just because the vocals appear in the room like small splintered knives.

This is however not how it all starts. Paix begins like a proper album and serves to you perhaps not the most accessible tune, but at least it sorta rocks. Feels something like a being led through a green faerie wonderland with a large and merry sailor's wife going LALAAAAAHHLAALAAHHH LALAAAAH!!! Then the organs turn up and the moods get twirling murky and soaring. Small guitar figurines leads it gently to the door as it doses off into silence.

Then an extremely French ballad comes in the form of laid back guitar strumming, and the most raging vibrato I've ever heard applied to a female rock performer. Short and very French piece - sending you along Parisienne Walkways straight onwards into the sadness of the gutter. Melancholic sweetness haunts this tune from start to finish.

At this point, you've pretty much accepted that you've acquired a progressive avantguarde cabaret album, but then something funny happens - the mood changes for the more airy and porous, and I could swear we were suddenly somewhere along the ridges of NEU! - and finally the pieces fall together, when the odd electronic string instrument called the percuphone emerges and starts emulating the well familiar two stroke rhythm of a sequencer. Additionally the music veers into dark hedges and demented yet most befitting organ runs mimic the sort of free association you'd hear from a guy like Ray Manzerak when he played live gigs with The Doors. Right there and then Ribeiro steps in and speaks out on behalf of the mad country and focuses the spotlight on all the fabulous midnight lurkers of everyday life - sporting distinct left field convictions. The track goes back and forth between these two outer extremes - feeding off the powerful back swing it gets from either side of the fence - and then slowly coming to a halt with the electronics fading smoothly out, and you get the sense that the upcoming storm is awaiting brewing round the bend. She then sings out in the most angelic voice, and the skies rip apart like new born butterflies. This is effectively only a percuphone, a light decor of atmospheric guitar riff raff, some keys and vocals, but with this title piece it feels as if the world is on the verge of becoming a speaker and everything around turns alive with sound. It's a real trip man! Ford I love this thing.

The final piece instigates with a Cluster like elegance - like a feather caught on the up-draft - refusing to land anywhere. It's as insubstantial as it is pretty - and moreover, the soothing lapping watery music from the previous track now comes to the fore and you effectively get lured out into the slippery end, where everything seems like it's melting. When Ribeiro returns to song, all of the locked away emotions seep right through under the crackling of her menacing soaring vocal lines. Oh yes, there's buckets of beauty in here as well. The final bewildering whisper/effervescent rodeo flute always sends me off chasing mice in my skull. This is like having an alluring and terrifying conversation with the incarnation of Medusa's ancient bloodline...

I've loved this thing the past 15 years, and it never ceases to amaze me just how wild and out there this album really is, and that's with the simplest of instrumentation conceivable. Sometimes less is more. So true. So very true 4.5 stars.

 Paix by ALPES & CATHERINE RIBEIRO album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.14 | 34 ratings

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Paix
Alpes & Catherine Ribeiro Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars What if Hawkwind or Gong went folk, with Nico on lead vocals? Perhaps they would have ended up with a sound a bit like the one exhibited by Catherine Ribeiro's backing group Alpes on this release. Sputtering hazily between psychedelic space rock vistas and hippy folk chants and songs, this bizarre release combines adventurous musical experimentation with capable and diverse vocals on the part of Catherine herself, which have a resonance and a boldness to them matched by very few. There aren't many groups who can count themselves as having a truly unique sound, but Alpes might just be one of them.
 No. 2 by ALPES & CATHERINE RIBEIRO album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.52 | 16 ratings

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No. 2
Alpes & Catherine Ribeiro Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

3 stars From 1970 - the year in which I was born - appears the mighty Ribeiro and Alpes' second offering which heaps on layers of doom over the beauty of Catherine's voice. At times she'll remind you of Diamanda Galas when she was at her peak in the mid eighties.

N˚2, however, is more cerebral and raw, with far fewer effects over her vocals. To be honest she doesn't really need them - her range is incredible, sounding like a more aggressive Edith Piaf. Despite owning a scratchy old record of this, I still like it a lot.

'15 aout 1970' displays moments of beauty with vocals and guitar that will be utilised in future, better recordings.

N˚2 is sometimes tuneless but always strangely alluring, particularly on the completely mental side 2, which sounds to me like some weird sacrificial ritual in a derelict graveyard.

'Poème non épique' in its 18 mins duration has many similarities in its beginning with parts of Floyd's 'Saucerful of Secrets' with very 'Nick Masony' drums and 'Gilmour' effect laden electric guitar. Ribeiro's, almost possessed by Satan wailings and vocal ululating will leave you thinking that she was a hideous old hag rather than the beautiful woman she actually was.

The start of an unbroken run of 8 good albums in a row. Only 3 stars here because it's SO in your face that I can't really find the place to listen to this madness without getting irritated. This is Ribeiro and Alpes stripped to the bone, raw, and all the better for it on this one album.

 Passions by ALPES & CATHERINE RIBEIRO album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.02 | 9 ratings

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Passions
Alpes & Catherine Ribeiro Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A surprisingly upbeat and tuneful album with mostly little short tracks this time around. It sounds quite different from all previous releases probably due to the fact that there's a cool fretless bass utilised throughout. There's also a greater number of keyboards which suits me fine. The addition of reverbed violin is quite good for a change too.

I find myself enjoying this a lot until some clown decides to give his saxophone an airing on 'Détournements De Chants'. I don't know who it is, but it leaves my face looking like I'm smelling a crate of six week old dead fish, I last had this experience whilst listening to Gary Numan's awful 'Warriors' LP in '83. What was heading for any easy four stars is deservedly punished and reduced to three.

 Ame Debout by ALPES & CATHERINE RIBEIRO album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.98 | 25 ratings

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Ame Debout
Alpes & Catherine Ribeiro Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This is my favourite album by Catherine Ribeiro and Alpes. It brings back dark memories of being part of a jury at a high court in winter in 2006, travelling by train in the dark - which could, in a weird way sum up this album.

It's probably the gloomiest of their albums, but is beautiful at the same time. I'm so pleased she always sang in French. A lot of the emotion would have been lost if she'd sung in English. This is my one gripe with most Krautrock bands. This, however, is no Kraut album. Alpes are instantly identifiable even without the vocals. I've always thought there's something a bit creepy about their albums. I can't quite put my finger on it. Most folk agree that 'Paix' was the high watermark of their career. Well, I choose this one. It's cool, suave, bleak, laid back yet intense. Oh, and she looks great - black eyeliner, jet black hair and a fantastic jawbone! A tremendous album that probably creeps in to my top 40 (from 4000 albums).

 Le Rat Débile Et L'homme Des Champs by ALPES & CATHERINE RIBEIRO album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.89 | 16 ratings

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Le Rat Débile Et L'homme Des Champs
Alpes & Catherine Ribeiro Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is the third of five superb albums in a row by Catherine Ribeiro and Alpes. Don't let the front cover put you off - it sounds nothing at all like it looks! If it wasn't for the 'Nurse With Wound' list I'd never have discovered this (or Magma, Franco Battiato and Taj Mahal Travellers come to think of it). Ribeiro has an astounding voice that sounds powerful in a Lisa Gerrard from 'Dead Can Dance' kind of way. Edith Piaf similarities are inevitable.

The band Alpes have a distinctive way of playing, sounding quite dark and sombre which suits Ribeiro's voice perfectly. All their albums sound very European. You'd never hear an album like this originating from the USA. It's really difficult finding any info. or footage of them in the 70's on 'You Tube' when they were undoubtedly at their peak, which is a shame. Anyway, this is a great album and well worthy of four stars

 La Deboussole by ALPES & CATHERINE RIBEIRO album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.02 | 8 ratings

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La Deboussole
Alpes & Catherine Ribeiro Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

3 stars What the...??!! Well I wasn't expecting this. Quite a departure from previous albums. Bordering on 'Disco Ribeiro'. I don't care - I could listen to her all day with no complaints. This one's quite a bit more straight forward than all the others. Her voice is still 'to die for' though. Clearly, New Wave bands have had an influence on the group here. Perhaps it was a good thing that they packed it in here rather than face the possible ignominy of taking on board that early 80's overproduction that destroyed many a Prog band in that decade. This is still pretty good stuff though - more through Ribeiro's vocals rather than Alpes who seem to have latched on to that keyboardy and straight drum thing that occurred around this time. Pretty good, but not a relevant entry point to this fantastic band. Leave this album till last and then you'll notice the huge shift in sound.
Thanks to oliverstoned for the artist addition. and to Sean Trane for the last updates

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