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METAL-O-PHONE

RIO/Avant-Prog • France


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MeTaL-O-PHoNe biography
MeTaL-O-PHoNe is French experimental avant-jazz trio, founded by vibraphonist BENJAMIN FLAMENT. Besides of his work in this trio, he is member of such French bands as Radiation 10, Les Bonbons Flingueurs, White Light 4tet. Other band's members are Belgian-born bassist JOACHIM FLORENT (co-founder of JEAN LOUIS and Radiation 10) and drummer ELIE DURIS (Paul Lay Trio). Based around vibraphone sound, they play minimalist avant jazz rock, influenced by Steve Reich, free jazz and prog metal.



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Coax Records
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4.45 | 5 ratings
MeTaL-O-PHoNe
2009
0.00 | 0 ratings
Kosmos
2013

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METAL-O-PHONE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 MeTaL-O-PHoNe by METAL-O-PHONE album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.45 | 5 ratings

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MeTaL-O-PHoNe
MeTaL-O-PHoNe RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer

4 stars MeTaL-O-PHoNe: MeTaL-O-PHoNe [2009]

Rating: 7/10

There were two things that initially intrigued me about this French avant-jazz trio. First was the involvement of bassist Joachim Florent. Being a moderate fan of Florent's main group Jean Louis, I was interested to see what this exceptionally skilled bass player could do in a different context. The other thing that intrigued me about MeTaL-O-PHoNe was the band setup: vibraphone, bass, and drums. Needless to say, this is an unorthodox lineup of instruments; lacking piano, guitar, or sax, I wondered what the band could come up with. The result is an album that manages to both be intense and ambient at the same time. The intensity comes from the amount of sounds that band manages to cram together into a single sonic moment; the ambience comes from the fact that these sounds consist mainly of quiet "dings" and "dongs". It goes without saying that this is a unique album. It's difficult not to think of Zappa while listening to mallet-heavy jazz-fusion, but "Unplugged Jean Louis Meets Larks Tongues in Aspic" would probably be the most fitting description of the music here.

"Vision I" begins the album in an ominous and minimalistic fashion. This sounds like something that would be played during some sort of dark religious ceremony. The feedback-heavy "Roms" consists mainly of an almost doom-metalesque motif being repeated with growing intensity. It's fairly cool, but "Steve Reich in Babylone" is where the album really starts to get awesome. As with many songs on this album, this track builds upon certain vibe "riffs", adding increasing intensity and textures. The last two-and-a-half minutes of this track are probably the best on the album. "Vision II" is an interlude featuring what sounds like homemade percussion. "Karter" sounds like some sort of lost Larks Tongues outtake. The stand-up bass is played like a cello, and the vibes increase the ambience. This is great stuff. The awesomeness dies down a bit on "Improvisation Zen", a rather boring track consisting of even more "dings" and "dongs", along with some bass twanging. It's not bad, but it doesn't really go anywhere. "Papouilles" improves things. This almost sounds like something from a film-noir soundtrack. "Mutation I" is yet another interlude consisting of doorbell-like sounds. The vibes in "Bama" sound like the soundtrack to a dream sequence. The excellent drums and bass echo traditional jazz. "Mutation II" is another chime-filled interlude. "Robosticks" is probably the most electric track on the album. I love the funky bass and the dissonant vibes. "Tahiti" is a somewhat dull closing number, featuring more ambient percussion and bass twangs. The bass near the end of the song is strong enough to save the track, though.

As solid as MeTaL-O-PHoNe's debut is, it's plagued by inconsistency. There are basically two albums here: one in which the band plays groovy, engaging, and innovative avant-garde jazz, and one in which haphazard doorbell sounds dominate the music. The former is fantastic, and if the entire album consisted of these moments, then we would be within range of five-star territory (although not quite there). The latter, however, is boring. Pseudo-ambient dissonant chiming simply isn't very entertaining for me. While these tracks do next to nothing for me, the strong moments here ("Steve Reich in Babylone", "Karter", and to a slightly lesser extent "Papouilles", "Bama", and "Robosticks") are so excellent that it would be a crime to give this album anything less than a four-star rating. Although far from perfect, this is a very strong album that I would recommend to fans of avant-garde music, jazz-fusion, or Larks Tongues era Crimson.

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 MeTaL-O-PHoNe by METAL-O-PHONE album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.45 | 5 ratings

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MeTaL-O-PHoNe
MeTaL-O-PHoNe RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by frippism
Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

5 stars MeTal-O-PHoNe's music can be described as: 1. Ambient 2. Jazzy 3. Avant-gardy (New word? Definitely!) 4. Incredible. The fact that this trio can create such a beautiful, mysterious and interesting experience every time I listen to it just increases my appreciation for this. I will go as far as saying this a must for any avant-garde fan, even though this is such unknown music. It really is an amazing gem and I mean every word.

The French trio consists of vibraphonist Benjamin Flament, bassist Joachim Florent (who is also in other incredible avant-jazz trio Jean Louis, which shall be reviewed at time in La Futura), and drummer Elie Duris. I think it is safe to call all of them virtuosos. Flament's vibraphone goes through several effects such as distortion to create a truly literally chilling effect (It literally sounds cold I really can't explain it). He weaves this amazing patterns that creates this aura of incredible awesomness. He's playing adds such an interesting element to the band which makes them wholly unique.

Bassist Joachim Florent is one of the more powerful players (I can name him as one my very few bassist influences along with Hugh Hopper and... Hugh Hopper (RIP Hugh)). He upright bass can be dead on precise, and his bowing action is perfect, eerie and nerve wrecking. His lines are almost groovy while having a completely chaotic feeling.

Elie Duris is an interesting drummer and I mean that in the best way possible. His playing varies from heavy (Again, literally heavy feeling), to this beautiful light jazz drumming which is all over the place and completely in sync at once. One if not the best drummer I have heard from France in a while.

The music is has a powerful effect. It is all hazily constructed yet with a corroding feeling. Yeah. The industrial music influence which might exist is strongly felt on this album as there's serious attention is payed to texture. As I've already said twice the texture is so perfectly made that I can literally feel the music and not many anythings can do that. I mean when you listen to "Vision I" transfer to the INCREDIBLE "Rooms" you feel like your stuck in a tubular bell (eh. ah. haha). The tracks here weave together beautifully and all are more or less perfect so to say there's highlights is tough but for the first-time listener I would listen to "Steve Reich in Babylon", as Flament slowly builds this dome of sound which gives me claustrophobia.

I can't explain the effect this album has on me but it's overwhelming almost. It's a challenging piece of work but you'll like it right away if avant your thang. It's such an incredible jewel that should really be a bit more appreciated in this website. So I push all of you to check it out. (Also Jean Louis is a definite check out so go nuts)

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 MeTaL-O-PHoNe by METAL-O-PHONE album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.45 | 5 ratings

BUY
MeTaL-O-PHoNe
MeTaL-O-PHoNe RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Triceratopsoil

5 stars A fascinating, vaguely ambient and dissonant approach to avant-garde music that almost rings more of jazz-rock/fusion, MeTaL-O-PHoNe's self-titled debut is adventurous to say the least. Benjamin Flament's vibraphones, sometimes slightly distorted, are omnipresent, and are largely the base of the music. Joachim Florent's bass playing, perhaps a little more traditional than what he does in Jean Louis, is nevertheless extremely impressive, and for the most part pretty catchy too. Elie Duris's drumming is jazzy and solid, never out of place. There is a somewhat hypnotic effect to the music, almost reminiscent of some of Hancock and Davis's fusion period.

Overall, an utterly fantastic album that should not be missed out by any avant-prog/RIO fan.

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