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Catherine Ribeiro  & Alpes - Catherine Ribeiro + 2Bis CD (album) cover


Catherine Ribeiro & Alpes


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.88 | 23 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars As the 60s marched closer towards the 70s, musicians became braver and more daring with each year finding ever stranger forms of music evolving and splintering off into distinct new sub genres of rock and folk music. 1969 was one of those years where the floodgates opened and it seemed that any old experimental approach and musical development were fair game. In addition to the mainstream pop and rock of the day were a whole array of discursive bands that created new music for a new era. Bands like East of Eden and King Crimson sparked a new complexity in the evolving world of progressive rock, Black Sabbath formed and took darkness and heaviness in music to new levels and folk music was ever furthering itself from its roots with artists like Tim Buckley taking the music of the people into far more turgid arenas. Unbeknownst to the mainly English speaking world where these developments originated were many other musical entities around the world catching the wave and creating their own new music for a new era only in their native tongues and lands. CATHERINE RIBEIRO was one such artist who has been called the French version of Nico, the successor to Edith Piaf and also as a prog rock sorceress who cast enchanting spells to summon revolution.

The unique style of CATHERINE RIBEIRO was a product of her traumatic upbringing. Born in Lyon, France in 1941, not only did she suffer from the early traumas of WW2 with a constant barrage of bombings as the daughter of newly established immigrants from Portugal, but she also experienced such traumas as her baby brother dying at a young age as well as mental instability which landed her into psychiatric wards where she was subjected to intense sessions of electro shock therapy. The culmination of these incidents would be expressed through her various artistic endeavors. Although she started out as an actor, by the mid-60s she began to take interest in music and once she met Patrice Moullet, the chemistry immediately clicked and together they would synergize their talents to create a totally new kind of freaky psychotomimetic musical creation that even to the present day stands out as quite unique. Despite members coming and going throughout their eleven year run, RIBEIRO and Moullet would remain together for the entire run. The band better known as CATHERINE RIBEIRO + ALPES starting on album "No. 2" initially began under the CATHERINE RIBEIRO + 2BIS moniker which on their eponymous debut album cover proudly presents the "Pop Free" stamp of approval.

From the very first sounds experienced, it's obvious that this was out of left field for the time and to this day remains so. With RIBEIRO blasting out her declamatory style of semi-sung, semi-spoken lyrical content completely in the French language we are instantly transported to another musical world where pain and disdain of the injustices of the world are suddenly transmogrified into musical majesty. "Lumiere Écarlate" (Scarlet Light) begins with the avant-garde instrumental sounds of Moullet's hypnotic self-invented cosmophone along with tribal drumming and RIBEIRO's spectral passion-fueled chants that sound as if they are supplicating the universe for some kind of healing ritual or some other occult scene. While "S?ur De Race" (Pedigree Sister) is less haunting it continues the lugubriousness as RIBEIRO seduces the listener with her soft sensual vocal style that belies the following track "Les Fées Carabosses" (The Wicked Fairies) where shows how versatile RIBEIRO is and displays her full bravado in bombastic rants and moody guffaws where she can create intricate melodies only to shatter them in a fit of rage in a full-voiced madwoman ebullition followed by screams, hysterical laughs and other vocal madness.

It's not only RIBEIRO's vocal antics that stand out and demand the listener's attention. The otherworldly sounds of Patrice Moullet's homemade instruments are equally wild. While RIBEIRO handles all lyrics and vocals throughout the band's existence, it was Moullet who wrote all the music and invented several instruments such as the percuphone, cosmophone and orgolia that give this music the most unique and unparalleled sound in the progressive music scene. This one / two punch guarantees the listener will be taken somewhere they never knew existed: a strange new world where the psychedelic and avant-folk meet in the lysergic renegade poetic wilderness. Along with the experimental instrumentation and larger than life vocal contributions, the album is also filled with all kinds of psychedelic techniques much used by other acts of the era including backmasking, tribal drumming and hypnotic folk guitar sequences. Some of the tracks are sweet and sensual and others come completely unhinged however the music always remains in a rhythmic harmony of some sort while RIBEIRO herself is the one who dishes out the bouts with chaos and mental instability. CATHERINE RIBEIRO + 2 BIS is a very interesting late 60s release that showed all of the band's strengths from the beginning, however they were just getting started and as good as this debut album is, it's not as well accomplished as some of the albums to come. Album number one is certainly an entertaining musical trip that not only delivered ample amounts of originality but managed to boil the avant-garde ingredients into a digestible stew that sounds like a completely mature product.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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