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Topic ClosedThe Musical Journeys of Frederic L'Epee

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Direct Link To This Post Topic: The Musical Journeys of Frederic L'Epee
    Posted: October 19 2007 at 09:48

Frederic L'Epee started his musical journey as a teen in SHYLOCK in 1974, in which they composed long instrumental complex tunes, mysterious and compelling, bearing a King Crimson sound mark and comparable to Arachnoid.

The band released Gialorgues  and Ile de Fievres .

Those albums bring out mixed feelings from listeners and reviewers, some enthusiastic while others liking it less, not thinking this is in any way outstanding.

More info on Shylock and their releases and experiences of recordings and shows told by Frederic himself can be found here as well as audio samples- http://laspada.perso.cegetel.net/shylock/shylock1eng.html
 
 
 

If Shylock is the band where he found his musical track and shaped its initial path, it is with PHILHARMONIE where he would have the chance to experiment, improvise and look for new ways to musically express himself.  Frederic cites Steve Reich as “the source of this development”. Frederic was studying composition in the Nice music conservatory, and so was using philharmonic orchestra instruments in his compositions and the guitar would be set aside for a more limited use or practices. His studies lasted from 1983 to 1987 and would create a craving for the guitar which would lead to the formation of PHILHARMONIE – transcribing classical pieces into pieces for guitars. PHILHARMONIE began with five guitar players including Frederic, and would eventually shrink to four and then three, and later on the lineup kept changing. In their several years of activity they released five albums: Beau Soleil, Les Éléphants Carillonneurs , Nord, Rage, Le Dernier Mot. Starting as a guitar only group, they would be joined later on by a rhythm section and other instruments from Nord and onwards.

More info on Philharmonie and their releases and experiences of recordings and shows told by Frederic himself can be found here - http://laspada.perso.cegetel.net/philharmonie/philharmonie1eng.html
 
 
 

G.L.I - Groupement de Libres Improvisateurs is another point in his musical career, which as the name implies would carry on the spirit of improvisation and exploration. To make it easier, I will cite a little of what Frederic himself tells about this here - http://laspada.perso.cegetel.net/glieng.html :

“All began when I met the guitarist Serge Pesce who lived like me in the Nice area. We had very different musical background and though we've heard about each other, our paths never crossed. We met after a concert he performed which I liked a lot. Later, he came to see me with Philharmonie and we met several times after this. Naturally we mentionned the possibility to work together. We were both improvisers, but in a different way. Since the begining of my musical life with Shylock, free improvisation had been the source of my music, but it never an end in itself. On the other hand, Serge had developped the concept of "adapted guitar", ie enriched with acoustic effects with the help of odd objects : chisel, spoon, bow, thimbles and so on ... that he used to compose as well as to improvise. So we decided to perform a run of seven concerts, the first one being our very first musical encounter, without any rehearsal. We even made sound check separately. At the end of these series we intended to carry on this principle of concerts gathering people of different musical style who never played together, but involving musicians of the whole area. That is why we created the G.L.I. which served as basis for three series of ten concerts gathering styles as various as jazz, rock, traditional, electronic, classical and contemporary music. "Les Aventures de..." (The Adventures of...) took place from 2000 to 2002 at Le Bar des Oiseaux in Nice.

The subject of the G.L.I. is free improvisation, it means an immediate music freed from habits, cliches, and reflexes usually proper to most musicians ; the style must disappear. During these workshops, we emphasize listening, spontaneity and renewal of musical vocabulary of participants.”

 

More info on G.L.I and their experiences of playing and shows told by Frederic himself can be found here - http://laspada.perso.cegetel.net/glieng.html
 
 
 

The Nice Guitar Circle – again, to make it easier I will quote from Frederic’s site (link below) about this formation and its purpose:

“The Nice guitar Circle is born in march 1995, one year after playing, for the first time in France, Steve Reich's Electric Counterpoint with 14 guitarists, ordered by the MANCA festival in Nice. With this aim in view, I had gathered all the musicians I knew, even some I did not, with of course those of Philharmonie. We rehearsed 4 months relentlessly, the piece being very difficult, particularly for those who had never practice this kind of guitar interplay, and except Philharmonie, it was everyone ! The performance went relatively smoothly, considering the stake and the ensemble line up. Unfortunately, the recording was of very poor quality and could not be used.

From 1995 to 2001, we have been playing titles by : Steve Reich : Electric Counterpoint, François Couperin : Les Barricades Mystérieuses, Led Zeppelin : Kashmir, Terry Riley : In C, The Persuaders, soundtrack of the film , Fred Frith : Nenad, Guy Reyes : Alcayata, composed for the Circle, two pieces of my composition, Souffles Terrestres and Regard Circulaire après Eblouissement for 12 guitars and 12 strings, Brian Eno ; Sombres Reptiles, Jean Sébastien Bach : Rectus n°1 of The Art of Fugue and Vivaldi : The Winter from the Four Seasons. All these pieces has been performed on stage, but almost never recorded.”

More info about The Nice Guitar Circle as well as audio samples can be found here - http://laspada.perso.cegetel.net/cgneng.html
 
 
 
 
 

Solo releases – Frederic decided after Philharmonie was disbanded to continue on playing alone, also due to an accident which would prevent him from engaging in any group playing and started composing four collections of compositions. However, having being badly injured his left hand in an accident (and gone through extensive surgery), difficulties came to playing and recording. One of those sets of compositions is thus freely available on the site mentioned throughout this post - http://laspada.perso.cegetel.net/soleeng.html

These compositions, he says, are influenced in part by African music and are gathered under the title Vent, Pluie, Sable (Wind, Rain, Sand).

Next composition would be released as Le Mont Analogue (The Analogous Mount) and that s a concept album inspired by a novel by René Daumal (a sample available on that link above).

Traces is a release featuring tracks Frederic re-recorded in studio of the compositions from those previous solo efforts in order to keep a trace of them as the title says.

Music For Lovers would be his last solo effort (meaning recording alone) and would feature as Frederic says: “meditative pieces, a bit reacting against the aggressiveness of my work at this moment with the improvisers trio K.L.P. and the first titles of Yang. These are rather light, repetitive titles, quite propitious to contemplation or love...”
 
 
 
 
Frederic also recorded three solo albums of improvisations: Frames, Arco and A Radian Summer Under Grey Sky. Those were done in parallel to those other more “conventional solo releases. This is how Frederic describes it: “This project has been conceived shortly after having create the G.L.I. as I was involved more than usual in improvisation, therefore in searching sonorities and modes of playing. The matter is three volumes devoted to improvisation. From rythms and melodies piling up systems, each improvisation generates its own structure, allowing me to perform it on stage in regard to a pre-established development and an atmosphere, but without to be bound by a score, letting me free to make it evolve at my taste in the course of the play.”
 
 
 

YANG is another band he started and he describes how it was born:

“the creation of series of improvised music performances "Les Aventures de..." (Adventures of...) allowed me to meet the bass player Stéphane Bertrand, with whom I already had contacts but never played. Drawing of musicians at one of these concerts made us meet on stage and I've been amazed by the great energy he showed during this performance. At spring I decided to make a new band, in some way more dynamic than Philharmonie, so I called him and Volodia Brice, who played drums in the last release of Philharmonie, The Last Word.Very shortly, as music became more complex, I called one of my ancient (and best) students, Julien Vecchié, to play guitar with us and Yang was born.”

They released the album A Complex Nature in September 2004 through Cuneiform Records.

Here is Yang’s bio from here in PA written by David (Atavachron):

 

“After the dissolution of landmark French band PHILHARMONIE and their swan song "Le Dernier Mot" in 1998, guitarist Frederic L'Epee resumed his unique and intricate take on modern instrumental rock with his next project, YANG, in 2002. L'Epee, Bassist Stephane Bertrand, drummer Volodia Brice, and second guitarist Julien Vecchie (a guitar student of L'Eppe's) each contributed to an immediate, tight-but-lose sound that is carefully constructed but never deprived of its power and rawness. A gathering of influences from ROBERT FRIPP, jazz fusion and heavy rock, YANG reinvigorated an approach that is at once metrically diverse and comfortably inviting. In February 2005, the line-up changed. Bass player Nico Gomez replaced Stephane Bertrand and Laurent James took over for Julien Vecchie on second guitar.

"A Complex Nature" (2004) was the band's debut and presented a rough-edged but quite sophisticated progressive statement. The cuts are unified yet diverse, with inventive mixes of angular rock and jazzy escapades and was recorded sparsely over three days in order to retain spontaneity and a live feel.

For fans of instrumental rock fusion with equal parts precision and garage atmosphere, YANG is strongly suggested and is a fresh departure in the distinguished career of Frederic L'Epee.”
 
 
 

Frederic adds this about Yang:

“An example of synchronicity :

As I was immersed in Yi Jing and Synchronicity, Didier Lustig informs me one day that a friend we've known for a long time, the bassist Nico Gomez who has leaved for London 10 years ago and whom I've never seen again since this time, comes back in France. (In 1994, Nico had joined us for a ephemeral meeting of Shylock, in view to perform a single anniversary concert which finally did not happen.).

At the same moment, I receive an email from Laurent James, one of my best students, with whom I’ve lost touch too since 5 years and who wished to contact me.

Few days after, a discussion with Stéphane Bertrand let emerge between us a marked divergence about how to manage concert business for Yang. Not a bitter or tense discussion, but it led to a rupture. When I called Nico to ask him to enter the band, I did not wonder at any time whether he could refuse or accept.

One week later, Julien Vecchié announces me that he surrenders too.Immediately, I called Laurent, no more questioning myself.

These events occurred two months before Yang performed his first concert. The repertoire is difficult, rehearsals are not frequent (I live in Paris, the other musicians in Nice), nevertheless nobody, and me less than anyone, has been doubting it was possible. (Although Laurent has sometimes been in a cold sweat.)”.

 

 
 
 

 

Here is a page with links to all things related - http://laspada.perso.cegetel.net/links.html

 

His entire discography throughout his career can be seen here - http://laspada.perso.cegetel.net/discoeng.html

 

For anymore info, look in his website here - http://laspada.perso.cegetel.net/index.html
 
 
 
 
 
 


Edited by avestin - October 19 2007 at 09:50
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 19 2007 at 12:06
In case you want a succint look at his work, here's a sort of CV of Frederic L'epee taken from here - http://www.liveguitar.eu/who.html
 
 
 

Frédéric L’Épée

 

Guitarist

• Founder of the instrumental rock band Yang March 2002 (1 CD on Cuneiform Records : A Complex Nature - 2004 )

• Founder, with Serge Pesce, of the Free Improvisers Group since March 2000

• Performing Solo Electric Guitarist since October 1997 (Concerts of composed and improvised music)

• Founder and leader of the Electric Guitar Ensemble The Nice Guitar Circle since 1995

• Founder of the Electric Guitar band Philharmonie 1988-1997 (CDs: one self-produced Beau Soleil - 1991, four with the American label Cuneiform Records: Les Eléphants Carillonneurs [The Elephant Bell-Ringers] (co-produced with the CIRM Nice - 1992, Nord [North] - 1994, Rage - 1996, Le Dernier Mot [The Last Word] - 1998 ; tours in Europe)

• Founder and Guitarist of the Progressive Rock band Shylock 1974-1979 (2 LP’s with CBS Records: Gialorgues - 1977 and Ile de Fièvre - 1978, both LP’s reissued in 1990 (LP) and 1995-97 (CD) ; tours in Europe)

Composer

• Rock, electronic music, contemporary music - orchestral, chamber music, instrumental repertoire (guitar) -

Teacher

• Improvisation workshops at La Cité de la Musique Paris, since 2004.

• Advanced guitar workshops in Paris since 2005.

• Improvisation workshops in Nice (G.L.I.) since 2001.

• Nice Guitar Circle since 1995.

• Private teaching of electric guitar and improvisation since 1980, of harmony and musical analysis since 1995.

Education

• Guitar Craft seminars with Robert Fripp in 1988, 1991, 1995.

• First Prize of Composition in April 1988

• Composition, harmony, counterpoint and fugue studies at the Nice Conservatory (1984-88)

• Self-taught guitarist



Selective Discography

• Yang, A Complex Nature, Cuneiform Records, 2004

• Philharmonie, The Last Word, Cuneiform Records, 1999

• Philharmonie, Rage, Cuneiform Records, 1996

• Philharmonie, North, Cuneiform Records, 1994

• Philharmonie, The Elephant Bell-ringers, Cuneiform Records, 1993

• Philharmonie, Beau Soleil, (self prod.), 1991

• Shylock, Ile de Fièvre, CBS, 1978, reissue Musea, 1990 (LP), 1996 (CD)

• Shylock, Gialorgues, CBS, 1977, reissue Musea, 1989 (LP), 1994 (CD)

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 19 2007 at 13:40
Great article Avestin, very interesting!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 19 2007 at 18:35
Thanks Bob, I appreciate it and glad you liked it (at least someone read it... LOL).
Not really an original article by me, but rather a collage of my impressions of his music along with citations from several sources.
 
Hope someone finds this useful or interesting enough to find it deem to explore the man's music.
 
 


Edited by avestin - October 19 2007 at 18:35
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 19 2007 at 23:45
 
Great article avers. The two Shylock albums are essential listening! Haven't heard anything else from the great man though. I read somewhere that Shylock was a huge inspiration for Anglagard.
 
There is a great second-hand vinyl shop in Nice (name escapes me for the moment) where I picked up the hand-made copy of 'Gialorgues' (the mix is slightly different to the Musea reissue) and the owner told me he was a good friend of M.L'Epee and invited me and the now ex-wife to have dinner with him the same evening. Unfortunately we were flying back home the same day and couldn't take up his kind offer.
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 20 2007 at 09:14
Originally posted by Yukorin Yukorin wrote:

 
Great article avers. The two Shylock albums are essential listening! Haven't heard anything else from the great man though. I read somewhere that Shylock was a huge inspiration for Anglagard.
 
There is a great second-hand vinyl shop in Nice (name escapes me for the moment) where I picked up the hand-made copy of 'Gialorgues' (the mix is slightly different to the Musea reissue) and the owner told me he was a good friend of M.L'Epee and invited me and the now ex-wife to have dinner with him the same evening. Unfortunately we were flying back home the same day and couldn't take up his kind offer.
 
 
 
Oh wow, I'd love to have had dinner with Mr. L'epee... Sounds cool.
If I am in Nice again at some point, I'll look for that record shop if it will still exist (I'll my relatives there if they know of it).
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 20 2007 at 12:33
 
Yeah, it's right along the sea-front. Just wish I could remember the name. East from Louis Vuitton (if that helps ^ ^)
 
There is another second-hand shop in Nice (very small and very over-priced) nearby. Picked up some over-priced zeuhl rarities from the surly owner around the same time. Great little restaurant on the same street. God, I miss Nice! (...and having money to spend) 
 
 
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 20 2007 at 19:39
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2007 at 06:56
Wow, Assaf strikes again
 
 
I have some catching up to do, hereAngryEvil%20SmileClownThumbs%20UpTongueWinkLOLClap


Edited by Sean Trane - October 21 2007 at 06:58
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2007 at 07:08
what a sour little review on the Mitkadem site LOL  .. but yes, I must find some of his solo stuff.. thanks Assaf

 
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