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JEAN-CLAUDE VANNIER

Eclectic Prog • France


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Jean-Claude Vannier biography
JEAN-CLAUDE VANNIER, who was born in 1943 is a French self-taught pianist, composer and arranger. He started playing the piano at eighteen and went on to arrange for MICHEL MAGNE and ALICE DONA/ He has orchestrated and produced many albums, both under his name and not under his name.

In 1970, he worked with GEORGES DELARUE on the very good soundtrack for Point d'iterrogation, but Vannier has worked on many soundtracks for film and TV since 1969.

He has collaborated closely with SERGE GAINSBOURG, arranging Histoire de Melody Nelson (1971) and composing much of the music on it Originally Vannier's name was to appear on the cover of this seminal album alongside Gainsbourg. He also did compositional work for Gainsbourg on his 1972 album Insolitudes (1972) and composed many popular French songs in the 1970s. His arrangements for icons such as BRIGITTE FONTAINE, FRANCE GALL, JANE BIRKIN, CLAUDE FRANCOIS, ENZO ENZO and many others is very notable.

In 1972 he released his progressive rock masterpiece composed for rock orchestra, choir, brass, and percussion called L'enfant assassins des mouches. The title, as I understand it, was a Gainsbourg idea (later Gainsbourg was to flesh out the story, famously) based on MAURICE RAVEL's L'enfant et le sortileges. For many years this only circulated as a promo item (limited release vinyl), and it wasn't until 2003 that this was released on CD by Vannier and really saw the light of day. It developed a cult status, and a considerable number of musicians and critics lauded it. This is the album that got Vannier into PA and it is a magnificent blend of psych, avant music, jazzy attributes, eastern music, academic music and pop. It's been a much sought after album by hip-hoppers (as is a lot of my favourite music) and the original LP sells for huge prices, and is dubbed one of those holy grail albums of its ilk.

His following album, "L'orchestre de Jean-Claude Vannier interprète les musiques de Georges Brassens" is more of a chanson album, but a very well-done homage.

Subsequent albums range from pop to classical. His latest I like considerably.

On October 21, 2006, Vannier put on a huge live show, performing L'enfant Assassin des Mouches & Melody Nelson at London's Barbican. It included guest vocalists BRIGITTE FONTAINE, JARVIS COCKER, BADLY DRAWN BOY, MICK HARVEY of THE BAD SEED, BADLY DRAWN BOY and GRUFF RHYS of SUPER FURRY ANIMALS.

Sometimes Vannier is called the Fr...
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Jean-Claude Vannier official website

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Interprete Les Musiques De Georges BrassensInterprete Les Musiques De Georges Brassens
Import
Universal France 2011
Audio CD$8.25
$17.25 (used)
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JEAN-CLAUDE VANNIER discography


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

4.32 | 22 ratings
L'enfant assassin des mouches
1972
2.33 | 3 ratings
L'orchestre de Jean-Claude Vannier interprète les musiques de Georges Brassens
1974
2.67 | 3 ratings
Jean-Claude Vannier
1975
0.00 | 0 ratings
Des coups de poings dans la gueule
1976
0.00 | 0 ratings
Pauvre muezzin
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
Jean-Claude Vannier
1981
3.00 | 2 ratings
Public cheri je t'aime
1985
0.00 | 0 ratings
Pleurez pas les filles
1990
0.00 | 0 ratings
Bienvenue A Bord
1990

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JEAN-CLAUDE VANNIER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 L'enfant assassin des mouches by VANNIER, JEAN-CLAUDE album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.32 | 22 ratings

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L'enfant assassin des mouches
Jean-Claude Vannier Eclectic Prog

Review by Guldbamsen
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

5 stars Magic

Self-taught pianist, composer and arranger Jean-Claude Vannier is without a doubt responsible for one of the most imaginative albums of the 20th century. Ever since hooking up with the French film industry in 69, making a lot of soundtracks, this guy has been dishing out some of the most unique orchestrated music. This particular symphonic trade exudes through in his work, and you feel the panoramic girth of this man's vision like you're sitting with your nose pressed firmly against the cinema screen.

Vannier is in a league of his own. Taking seemingly unfamiliar pieces of music and taping them up together in a strange eloquent form of sonic origami. Whatever this man puts together, it works - and not only that, it flipping jumps at you like a small frog on epo. You just got to marvel at his genius - this is indeed a musician that does what he wants - directs others exactly like he wants and always manages to cook up something out of this world.

This masterpiece is a melting pot of rock orchestration, brass instruments, strings, heavenly choirs and what often sounds like the percussion kit from a scary Tom & Jerry movie. This record very casually and elegantly embraces so many different styles of music, that you at some point get lost in a sonic haze halfway between Singapore and Paris.

Opening up with cinematic effects, bell tower, clocks - a match gets lit, and you hear the ambient zoom of traffic and distant road noises. A deep slow breath cuts everything into a short blackness....nothing, and then the majestic funk prog emerges with low down bass stylings and wickedy wah wah guitar wagging its hazy tail like a happy dog. Somehow this thing then takes a complete u-turn ending up in the jungle-book's original theme music with some twisted reeds sounding particularly loopy.

Already by now you will probably have established the music to be highly eclectic, but boy you ain't seen nothing yet. Second cut gives away to a funky styled chant rock that goes into a real humdinger of a bluesy jazz piece, then metamorphosing into this grand symphonic creature with bonkers percussion features and the most gorgeous Atom Heart Motheresque choir you'll ever come across.

WOOUUHH and you get a huge startle with a big loud screech.....still breathing a little heavily from the shock you now sense a heroic ambiance coming to the fore, in a tune that could've assisted Rocky back when he was running up steps in Philly. This is deliberately pompous string sage-rated soundtrack music with some jumpy Lucky Luke piano alongside it. Had it not been for the subtle menace in the bass violins, this one could've been tasteless, but it's not - it's absolutely fabulous, just like the rest of the tracks. Whether it's a combination of RIO and cabaret rock in silly clown shoes - or the most astonishing track that starts off with a Floyd like RRRRIIING and leads you through the desert night on beautiful Arabic melodies and Indian rhythms - Vannier seems like a man that can do no wrong.

It's also about the little things. There's a tiny piece on here that only consists of a guitar, presumably rained heavily upon to the sounds of a humpback whale playing the sax, and I absolutely love it to death! Hell even the small ditty that conveys a kind of peyote fuelled Fantasia with brass instruments taunting the strings feels oddly in tune with the gist of the album.

If you're looking for the next best thing since Transformers and liquorice, you better run down to your nearest record dealer and demand a copy of the single most thrilling experimental rock album done with an orchestra. This is Sergio Leone meets Funkadelic. It's the album David Axelrod wishes he could've made. It's the kind of album that jets you through a gazillion movies in the mere time frame of 37 minutes. It's pure magic is what it is.

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 L'enfant assassin des mouches by VANNIER, JEAN-CLAUDE album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.32 | 22 ratings

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L'enfant assassin des mouches
Jean-Claude Vannier Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. I officially announce that today (June 13th) is hereby called "Logan Day", but since I have no authority to make such a proclamation this will only be so in my little world.The Canucks winning the cup tonight would be the icing on the cake (Logan lives in B.C.) but unfortunately I have no control over that. Why "Logan Day" ? Well my review this morning and the one i'll do tonight are of two albums that Greg (Logan) recommended to me and he gave them both 5 stars, that's why. It's karma yo ! Okay that made no sense at all but please just play along.

Jean Claude Vannier is from France and he was (is) a very successful composer of film scores but not only that he was a producer and arranger of some of the biggest pop stars in Europe. So while he might be unknown over here in North America this is not so in Europe. He's a genius really when it comes to arranging and on this his first album he blends many styles in a seemless manner. It's like he tricks the listener because he is so good at what he does.He uses a string quartet, a brass and reed section, a choir, samples and many, many instrumentalists to accomplish this master work.This is a concept album (although completely instrumental) based on Serge Gainsbourg's story called "The Child Fly-Killer". I'm going to use the English song titles because it will be faster for me as the French ones are quite long.The story is about a boy who tries to burn flies with matches.The one fly he hurts leads him into the fly kingdom where the boy sees the king of the flies playing billiards.The king asks the boy to dance and in an act of treachery the boy dumps a pot of rose jam on the floor which covers the king.The king manages to drag himself to the beach in an effort to get this jam washed off him, but the boy meets him there and torments him by hitting him with a rod. A troop of flies tries in vain to save the king but alas it's too late as the king has been beaten to death.The flies plot their revenge and get the child stuck on this child-paper (like fly paper but for humans) where they cover him as he breathes his last. This is not based on a true story in case you were wondering. I should mention that it's very cool to hear Claude Engel playing guitar on this album, that's the same guy who played on MAGMA's debut as well as the UNIVERIA ZEKT record also with MAGMA.

"The Child The Fly And The Matches" opens with faint sounds before you can hear the matches being lit, one after the other. Outbursts of sound come and go then church bells.The music comes in after 2 minutes and I really like the guitar here. Sax is followed by drums then dissonant horns.The guitar is back before 4 minutes then more horns. "The Child In The Fly Kingdom" sounds so good when the vocal melodies join in around 1 1/2 minutes.The guitar becomes prominant then we get a calm before 2 1/2 minutes before it kicks back in. Great sound here.The sound of water takes over then an abrasive sound. "Dance Of The Black Flies,The King's Guards" sounds amazing with the horns, strings, drums, piano and more.You can hear the sound of someone playing billiards after 3 minutes to end it.

"Dance Of The Child And The King Of The Flies" has these vibes that are very upfront on this silly sounding tune. Lots of strings,horns and piano as well. "The King Of The Flies" opens with samples then this exotic Eastern flavour takes over with lots of percussion. Some loud noises before 5 minutes. "The Child Fly-Killer" has these classical instruments that come and go then it kicks in at a minute. "The Guards Fly To The King's Rescue" is such a great sounding track with those vocal melodies, drums and bass leading the way. It does get fuller at times as contrasts continue. It ends with percussion and heavy breathing (poor king) as horns and loud outbursts arrive.

"Death Of The King Of The Flies" has this incredible sounding guitar that reminds me of Krautrock but it changes quickly. It is back at 1 1/2 minutes. Nice. "Spidery Scrawl / Fly Legs" opens with eerie sounds then this haunting atmosphere envelopes the soundscape.Time for some revenge ! "The Paper Child-Killer" has this swirling almost circus like melody with accordion then it turns waltz-like. "The Death Throes Of The Child Murderer" starts with flute and piano then the guitar, drums and organ take over.

One question. Why is there this bare assed guy on the album cover ?! Happy Logan Day everyone !

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