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JEAN LOUIS

RIO/Avant-Prog • France


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Jean Louis picture
Jean Louis biography
Founded in Paris, France in 2005

With their compact and distorted grooves, Jean Louis create music out of wood, metal and electronic sounds. They worked underground for two years to develop and refine their rhythmic form to create compositions that are strongly riff based and explosive.

In la Defense's National Jazz Competition in 2007, Jean Louis took second prize, Joachim Florent and Francesco Pastacaldi took the first and third soloist prizes, respectively. In 2008, they went abroad and participated in such events as: Le Triton aux Lilas, The Hermitage's Studio, The Olympic Cafe in Paris, The European (First part of Fantazio), The Rhino Jazz Festival (Gier River), and The Tuning Fork in Cherbourg.

Jean Louis achieve their massive sound with the use of the trumpet and double bass, often with electronic effects, and their stellar drum work. The Trio's influences include artists such as Zu, Marc Ducret, Meshuggah, Melvins, Varese, Stravinksi, Zakir, Hussein, Fela Kuti, Miles Davis, and Fred Frith... On a quest for the freedom of expression, they create an in-depth jump into musical experimentation that is far from any cliches while constantly evolving.

Thanks to Evolutionary_Sleeper for the addition.

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UranusUranus
Coax Records
$20.23
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JEAN LOUIS discography


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JEAN LOUIS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.22 | 81 ratings
Jean Louis
2008
3.16 | 17 ratings
Morse
2010
4.38 | 8 ratings
Uranus
2013

JEAN LOUIS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

JEAN LOUIS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

JEAN LOUIS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

JEAN LOUIS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

JEAN LOUIS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Morse by JEAN LOUIS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.16 | 17 ratings

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Morse
Jean Louis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars Paris based JEAN LOUIS made quite the splash in the prog world in 2008 with their self-titled debut album which by the way is almost unsearchable on the internet. Naming themselves after perhaps the most popular name combo in the entire French language finds a gazillion hits of every aspect of French culture and beyond. Yes i digress but if you attach the name of their second album MORSE to the search then things get a little more fine tuned. While their debut caught the attention of the hardcore jazz- fusionists and avant-proggers, all the attention the band received seemed to fly off the radar by the time they released their sophomore album a mere two years later in 2010. MORSE finds this power trio of Aymeric Avice (trumpet), Joachim Florent (double bass) and Francesco Pastacaldi (drums) cranking out another masterful album of avant-garde jazzified rock in all its wild and experimental and instrumental glory.

The eponymous debut album set a new standard for diversity in a jazz-fusion meets avant-prog setting. The album was literally all over the place with a heavy noisy bass and drums punctuated by super angular trumpet runs that conspired to create some of the most demanding listening experiences in the prog universe. The three instruments were so out of the box that they were virtually unrecognizable for much of the album. MORSE continues much of that but in reality relies more on an alternative rock type of template that implements easier to follow rhythms and chord progressions. Well for some of the time. MORSE is a sleeker and easier to digest sort of beast only in comparison to the debut. The noise level is still set to maximum and complexities find themselves inserted in strange and unexpected places. The psychedelic jazz aspects are also in full play as they provide a hazy backdrop to the bass and drum rhythmic drives. MORSE consists of eleven tracks, three of which exceed the eight minute mark and four which are two minutes or less.

While the alternative rock is generally speaking the most common unifying factor, there are lots of noisy outbursts of the trumpet reminding me sometimes of John Zorn fueled bombast with distortion so fuzzed out that it sounds like the speakers are going to explode. Tracks like "Tartaglia" provide a more frantic example of the band's noisiest possibilities whereas the lengthy "Doom" sort of emulates a doom metal track with a slow and creeping bass groove that finds frenetic jazzy drumming conspiring with the extra touches of the Korg MS-20 synthesizer, a bona fide analog retro model from the late 70s which slinks and slithers around in utter chaos. The track slowly increases its intensity with faster tempos and more frenetic instrumental outbursts until it results in a cacophonous tempest of sound before calming down again and reestablishing the more simplified groove.

"Junky Clown" officially establishes the band as weird as it is basically a double bass in jazz mode accompanied by a series of electronic sounds that offer new forms of chaos and order. "Tournant" calms things down a bit but also reinforces several factors that make JEAN LOUIS a bona fide avant-prog jazzcore band, namely extreme dissonance, overtly frenetic tempos and impossibly convoluted complexities beyond the average ear's perception. Strange polyrhythms develop as each instrument seems to take on a life of its own and slowly fall out of sync in a mondo bizarro hypnotic sort of way. The title track unapologetically dishes out as much harsh trumpet noise as is humanly possible. Nice bass and use of percussion though. While the trumpet has many moments where it sounds like a distorted electric guitar, here it becomes completely unhinged and needs a bona fide exorcism. "Milwaukee" is more of a simple groove, beat and has a dog barking!

JEAN LOUIS's debut was really all over the place and while MORSE has its share of diverse dynamics, tempos and timbre shifts, the power trio seems to spend a lot of time emulating the power and intensity of a metal band without actually being one. Never before have i heard the trumpet used and abused so greatly and who'da known that it could sound like a guitar. Like wild beasts that are utterly untamable, JEAN LOUS spread the joy of electro-jazz-punks with a serious attitude and absolutely no intention of finding middle ground for the sensitive types out there. This is manic music for only the most hardcore of musical sadomasochism where ever jarring sound it as punishing to the senses as is humanly possible. This is brutal prog for brutality's sake alone. While somewhat tamer than the debut album, tracks like the orotund "Sapiens" continue to remind that in the world of JEAN LOUIS there is no compromise. This is for the noise crowds and the admirers of distorted swirling chaos only.

 Jean Louis by JEAN LOUIS album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.22 | 81 ratings

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Jean Louis
Jean Louis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars JEAN LOUIS is a rather unique freeform avant-garde jazz meets avant-prog type of power trio from Paris, France. So original is their sound that they managed to come in second in the La Defense National Jazz Competition in 2007. Their self-titled debut release came out the year following and displays all their interesting fusion styles with a healthy diverse palette of eclectic influences. The band is a mere trio with Aymeric Avice on trumpet, Joachim Forent on double bass and Fracesco Pastacaldi on drums but like any excellent power triumvirate of sound, have the ability to encapsulate a much larger band experience with a huge swath of styles and eclecticism that makes this eponymous debut quite an intriguing listen. While no guitarist on board, Forent manages to make his bass sound as fuzzed-out as a peach orchard often reminding me of bands like Zu or Aluk Todolo in the process.

The rhythms are quite the strange mix of avant-garde jazz with Avice's angular trumpet playing style and avant-prog type of rhythmic or should i say anti-rhythmic spastic meanderings. So think a mixture of 60s Sun Ra with a Miles Davis flare mixed with Thinking Plague and a noisy math rock band like Lightning Bolt and you've got half the picture! This band doesn't stay still too long and after an intense hardcore workout they delve into extremely psychedelic meltdowns. Just check out the mind bending freakiness on "Airbus." In addition to the instruments listed i swear there are other sounds to be found on here. My guess is that they use different percussive objects as there are lots of clanking and banging sounds. There is also a distinct cello sound on "Tranche" which means there must have been some studio guests participating.

This album is a major wild ride that has taken me forever to find on physical format as the CD is out of print and quite expensive but can be heard on the band's Bandcamp site. This is one that must be experienced to be believed. The dynamic shifts from the passively surreal to the full out aggressive assaults on the eardrums is staggering as each member deftly weaves his respective instrumental riffs in a perfect complimentary way. This album has it all. Intricate melodies, scary storms of cacophonous walls of din, distinct jazz parts, avant-prog run amok and progressive workouts of exquisite virtuosity. The members of JEAN LOUIS are clearly aiming for the most ambitious of the ambitious music nerds out there of which i am one of! This is one of those relentless type of albums that just slaps you in the face with one surprise after another therefore I LOVE IT!!!

 Jean Louis by JEAN LOUIS album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.22 | 81 ratings

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Jean Louis
Jean Louis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

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.

 Jean Louis by JEAN LOUIS album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.22 | 81 ratings

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Jean Louis
Jean Louis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Zeuhl Glikowski II

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 whole story of this sub-genre. 10 tracks, completely instrumental works, hard songs, with a complex mix of jazz, , rock and metal. only three musicians working in this, accordind at each other. once in a while, reminds me some classic RIO pieces of Art Zoyd, with other contemporanean sounds at the style of Sleepytime. Aymeric Avice, playing trumpet (with a clearly influence of Miles Davis), Joachim Florent playing the bass (reminds me to Patrick O'Hearn), and Francesco Pastacaldi, one of my favourite drummers. JEAN LOUIS are going to be a legend in the history of prog rock, or maybe they already are.
 Morse by JEAN LOUIS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.16 | 17 ratings

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Morse
Jean Louis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by twseel

4 stars The masters of Industrial Tech Jazz have returned! Whereas their debut album might have been a little simple and messy, this album is more mature and closer to a masterpiece. The songs lead into each other more fluently and the music is calmer and jazzier. There is also more variety and colour to the album.

The first piece is 'Lady Crash'. This features the sound of a car race and some noises. It actually makes a great intro 'Schaerbeek', a song with a bit of a car race ambient(don't ask me how). It also has a surprisingly catchy melody in the second half of it.

'Tartaglia' starts off more chilling than any other Jean Louis song I've ever heard, but the madness does kick in after a while. Still one of the calmer pieces of the album.

'Doom' is what it claims to be, doom, and eight minutes of it. Very creepy atmospheres and frantic drumming make that this is one of the best pieces here.

'Junky Clown', a short weird acid piece with a lot of squeaky sounds. The band probably thought that the previous two songs were too normal...

'5 tournant' is a jazz rock piece with a lot of odd time signatures. One of the most accessible pieces and also one of the calmer ones, apart from the outrageous drumming.

'Morses from Mars' is a creepy interlude with a strange buzzing sound that leads into 'Morse'.This is a classic Jean Louis piece with a lot of effects, extremely aggressive drumming, heavy bass at no more than 100 Hz, screaming trumpet and again many different time signatures. If you liked their debut album, you will like this song as well.

'Milwaukee' is an another creepy interlude with dog barks and (I think) synthesizers.

When we're almost at the end, there is still a great piece to come, 'Sapiens'. This is my favorite song of the album and it's different from anything you've heard from the band. Less bass, more guitar, more fluently build up and more progressive than what you're used to.

The album ends in the short 'Doomus'. This one is an incredibly funky ending to an excellent album.

Overall the sound varies from the death metal of Gorguts to the jams of Frank Zappa to the free jazz of Miles Davis.

As a whole this album is at least as good as 'Jean Louis' and a must for avant-jazz fans.

 Jean Louis by JEAN LOUIS album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.22 | 81 ratings

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Jean Louis
Jean Louis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 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. Interesting, to be sure, although they do at points end up prioritising being interesting over being engaging or entertaining or polished, which can make it a tricky listen.
 Morse by JEAN LOUIS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.16 | 17 ratings

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Morse
Jean Louis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

1 stars For my first experience with Jean Louis, I cannot say I am awestruck. It's weird, as well it should be, but it's also rather two-dimensional. The drumming is the most appealing aspect of this record. Not to be ugly, but each non-percussive instrument sounds like it could have been produced by one's posterior after a load of pinto beans. The musicians are talented, and the compositions are energetic, but all of this is painful to sit through.

"Lady Crash" This is noise. I do not like it.

"Schaerbeek" This consists of noise, namely wild drums and ridiculous guitar infusions. It is energetic, but frankly sounds like the instruments are out of tune and they just had to make the best of it. The excellent trumpet solo through a Bitches Brew-like delay tries to make sense of the mayhem. The distorted bass could be fun, but becomes wearisome after a while.

"Tartaglia" Initially more of an alternative rock tune (although again with a farting bass), this third track only impresses with the drumming. It does eventually move into directionless avant-jazz-rock.

"Doom" Sputtering bass lands in with hellish sounds. The lead instrument is like an electric guitar run through a Leslie at full speed, but I'm not sure it's in tune. The bassist and trumpeter try to impress with wild runs alongside each other, but they annoy more than astound.

"Junky Clown" The title says it all. It sounds like a man plagued by hemorrhoids is cleaning his affected area with ethanol while broken toys shriek in the bathroom. Okay, maybe the title didn't say it all after all.

"5 Tournant" There is something slightly ELP here. The exotic tones are remarkable, but it's the drumming that is inspired. The distorted bass distracts from what is good on this track.

"Morses from Mars" Like a tribe of evil natives from some distant jungle were wielding a dentist's drill, this makes me plead for an aural anesthetic.

"Morse" There be more noise here. I can't get into it, but the final minute or so is very cool.

"Milwaukee" I suppose this is the slide trumpet, but it's hard to tell with the yippy dog in the background.

"Sapiens" At least the rhythm is simple enough to allow for some decent trumpet action to occur.

"Doomus" At last the bass playing is good.

 Jean Louis by JEAN LOUIS album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.22 | 81 ratings

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Jean Louis
Jean Louis RIO/Avant-Prog

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.

 Morse by JEAN LOUIS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.16 | 17 ratings

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Morse
Jean Louis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by progadicto

4 stars I'm sure that Jean Louis is one of the most innovative and surprising RIO bands of the last years. Their debut is really shocking and powerful, full of enjoyable sections that mixes the most wild RIO of the new century, jazzy moods, some chamber rock and freaky syncopated rhythms. With their secind release, Jean Louis just confirm the superb talent of their musicians when they create that singular kind of music.

Even when you can find lots of influences, the truth is that the sound of Jean Louis (complex, dark, heavy and constant changing) looks very unique. The openers Lady Crash and Schaerbeek, are two clear examples of the "musical earthquake" that you'll find along the11 tracks of this amazing album full of tension, experimental fusions of different genres and construction of hard atmospheres in which crescendos leaded by trumpet and bass are totally delightful.

Some other highlights are the noisy Doom,, 5 Tournant, Morse and Sapiens, tracks in which you find a lot of great and wild moments of brilliant jazzy-heavy-RIO... I had to insist: This is one of the most interesting, experimental and innovative bands of the last years and you would't repent of take this album and listen from the first to the last second... It's a noisy trip that you deserve to listen once and again...

 Jean Louis by JEAN LOUIS album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.22 | 81 ratings

BUY
Jean Louis
Jean Louis RIO/Avant-Prog

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.

Thanks to padraic for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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