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Pascal Duffard biography
PASCAL DUFFARD released just one album, 1976's "Dieu est Fou" ("God is Insane"). Sadly, there is little information readily available about the pianist-lyricist-composer, but the LP has become highly collectible. For this dramatic avant-zeuhlish rock operatic concept album -- which includes chanson and operatic vocals with a good dose of wackiness -- he worked with many respected session players (musicians and singers) from France; including a number of artists who had worked with MAGMA and ZAO. Eighteen musicians contributed to the project, including Yochk'o Seffer and Mauricia Platon of ZAO, Francis Moze of MAGMA, as well as acclaimed trumpeter Pierre Thibaud. In 1974 Pascal Duffard had collaborated with pop-artist Pascal Lami for the funky jazz single "L'amour a Trois". Like "Dieu est Fou", many session musicians were utilized for the recording. This included Francis Moze and Mauricia Platon who were to later work with Duffard on "Dieu est Fou".

"Dieu est Fou" should thrill those that enjoy chanson infused jazzy Zeuhl-related avant rock operas.

--- written by Greg "Logan" M. ---

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PASCAL DUFFARD discography

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3.51 | 9 ratings
Dieu est Fou

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Dieu est Fou by DUFFARD, PASCAL album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.51 | 9 ratings

Dieu est Fou
Pascal Duffard RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars A French singer/songwriter, who's early singles from the 60's indicated a good career in a Soft Pop style.Duffard, who actually kept releasing music from mid-60's to mid-70's through different surname variations, had an expressive voice, as captured in his first singles, which he could eventually use in another way in 1976, when he released the album ''Dieu est fou'', recorded at Studios Ferber in Paris.The line-up of this work includes about 20 guest musicians, most notably Magma's Francis Moze (bass), Claude Engel (guitar) and Yochk'o Seffer (sax), Working Progress's Tony Bonfils (bass), Bernard Lubat (drums), Marc Chantereau (percussion), North-African sax player Jacques Noureddine, Gong's Tim Blake (keyboards) and no less than four female singers.Duffard played keyboards and of course sings in this work.

Duffard's solo work was a really intelligent and innovative move, speaking about mid-70's.While he never actually abandoned his roots as a strong songwriter and melodic singer, he brings up here an impressive line-up of musicians with a certain Avant Garde, Jazz and Prog background to complete a haunting work, sounding somewhat like an Avant-Prog opera with definite Zeuhl influences, fronted by the talent of the guest musicians.This work, which is possibly a concept album, is divided in six, rather long movements, that alternate between Free Improvisation, complex Progressive Rock and Orchestral Pop.But even so the description is rather simplistic, as there are also strong elements from Chamber Music, Jazz and Horn Rock in an effort that often sounds quite disjointed and chaotic, but at the end succeeds to bring up its own charm.The calm, acoustic moments with the narrations and Duffard's sensitive voice are extremely emotional and usually break into sinister, instrumental themes with powerful sax scratches, grandiose string orchestrations and odd, proggy workouts.The haunting vocals of the female choir offer a bombastic operatic feeling, while there are also plenty of beautiful piano preludes included, performed by Duffard himself.Extended sax/guitar/piano exercises deliver a complex Progressive Rock side and the changes between the moods is endless and often genuine.Note that the orchestral lines were performed under the guidance of conductor Vladimir Kojoukharov, which strengthens the evident Classical leanings of ''Dieu est fou''.

I guess Duffard continued his career as a singer at some point through the 70's, but this album is definitely his pinnacle as a performer and composer.A multi-inspired, typical French Prog release with elements from Zeuhl, Classical Music, Jazz and Pop.Warmly recommended to all fans of demanding, slightly dissonant musical adventures.

 Dieu est Fou by DUFFARD, PASCAL album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.51 | 9 ratings

Dieu est Fou
Pascal Duffard RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Logan
Forum & Site Admin Group Site Admin

4 stars God, this is insane! Well, not really, but it is zany.

No review of this album would be complete without discourse on the lyrical themes of this irreverently titled French album ("God is Insane"). Unfortunately, French is not my lingua franca, and so, perhaps, an analysis of the music shall suffice (well, it won't, but...) However, not being a musicologist, and being rather tone deaf, I shall not be able to offer much in the way of learned observations of the music. Oh, I could bluff my way through it, focusing on tone, rhythm, harmony, and texture to make myself seem semi-intelligent, but instead I shall vaguely focus on my vague impressions, tangential commentary, and share my love of the music. Anyway, if music is the universal language, and French is the language of love, perhaps my love of this French music shall suffice.

This is a very good album to my ear, and this highly collectible and eccentric vinyl obscurity deserves a proper CD release. Since Duffard was able to secure the necessary requirements for such an ambitious and accomplished release with a large and talented group of performers, it is surprising that there is so little information readily available about him. However, he had worked on a project with Pascal Lami before who was quite a popular French pop artist, and so he must have been quite connected within the music industry. Both projects utilized a large array of performers, some of which worked on both.

I might say that this theatrical avant/ folk/ pop/ rock/ jazzy/ operatic/ Zeuhl-related album sounds as if it is Henri Gougaud meets Magma, meets Laurent Thibault, Pierrot Lunaire, and Ripaille. Additionally, I might say that it meets Hellebore, Zao, Ange, Schonberg's Les Miserables, Arthur Brown, Gyorgy Ligeti, Jerry Goldsmith and Claude Francois for a philosophical and ecclesiastical discussion over a cup of tea (champignon infused perhaps) . I could do this, or use a different set of names, but that seems excessively silly and I fear that it would not provide much help besides. Moreover, I would probably miss the best examples! More correctly, and inarguably, it is composer Pascal Duffard meets all those who participated on his project, and with some research on all those names, I could provide a more useful list than the one I presented. Suffice to say, I like to think of this project as an avant French answer to Andrew Lloyd Weber's "Jesus Christ Superstar." Musical theatre of the absurd in another way to describe this dramatic, wacky, and beautiful recording. Whether you think it absurdly good is another matter. Each vocalist plays a role in the pantomime which is unfolding -- from folk/pop to dialogue, to opera to chant, to laughter and ecstasy (each section has a dialogue of sorts with contrasting textures and tone, and the whole album feels cohesive despite jarring interjections/ juxtapositions and diverse musical expression). It seems a terrific concept even if the finer points of the concept elude me.

The album opens with a trippy, spacey piece (a la some music in "2001: A Space Odyssey") with bleeping electronics that would suit some acid-enhancing sci-fiish movie from the late 60's/ early 70's. From there, it moves into dramatic, operatic, weird free jazzy territory interspersed with experimental avant madness and beautiful poignant-sounding chanson and acoustic passages that provide good contrast and a satisfying playfulness. Bombastic, pretty, strange, pretty strange, and I think pretty wonderful. I also discern a delicious sense of irony in the proceedings.

The direction, arrangements, and performers are very good, as is the production. Although I fully want to give it five stars as it's one of my favourite albums, I find the finale a bit of a letdown. I would not expect an epic, majestic finale, but I would have liked it to end on a very dramatic note. Instead, it tails off and fizzles; not necessarily in a bad way, however. It may work well for the concept, but I would have liked something grander (perhaps of the Grand Guignal variety). The way it ends is just a bit too anti-climactic for me. So I give it four stars for the lack of "kaboom." The Earth getting blown up at the end due to a deus ex machina, now THAT'S a finale, but, though a rather Prog concept, may be too Hollywoody (especially if "the guy" and "the girl" were to live happily ever after against all odds). Considering that the vinyl can set one back hundreds of dollars, one may expect plenty of "bang" for the buck! If only there was a sequel....

Thanks to logan for the artist addition.

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