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Lard Free - Gilbert Artman's Lard Free  CD (album) cover


Lard Free



3.77 | 69 ratings

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5 stars Sneak attack from the heavens

In many ways jazz and Krautrock are highly reminiscent of each other. They both seek out the obscure in the music, those notes that hide away from the conspicuous. They share a love of the improvised in music as well - letting the mighty gods of interplay decide which way the winds blow, and then pursue the hell out of them on some of the wildest windswept journeys you´ll ever hear in your life.

Where these waters meet, this album originated. -Brought into being by those parenting cultures, and then breaking completely free in what has quickly become one of my favourite musical hybrids. Whilst sharing many facets with the freejazz of the late 60s - especially in the frivolous handling of the saxophone by Philippe Bolliet, - the feel of those early Germanic explorations in electronics also flavours quite a bit of this record. This is one of the most compelling things to me personally, and it was also these electronics that drew me in to begin with. This album is not what I would call an easy listen - not at all, and I had some difficulties breaking through the rather avant garde like surface of it, when I first started listening to it. It had me crawling up the walls with its creepy froggy sounds that seemed to come out of nowhere, and those manic saxophone sections were far too haphazard and unharnessed to possibly be of any use in the music. But then I popped it on one evening after a long day, and I remember the sky was all bloody and black, like it was divided in utter beauty and pitch black evil. I was tired and irritated, and felt my head was somewhere, but not exactly there - not attached to me in any way - just flying about out there in the perimeter. Suddenly this album started to make sense. It felt organic and purposeful, although purpose might be a bit of a stretch when we´re talking about this kind of music, but for what it´s worth, I felt the world speaking back to me in this dramatic scenery and the accompanying music. The otherwise convoluted nature of the tracks unfolded before me like backwards origami, and everything fell into place.

This album is largely built up around the absolute freedom of expression - meaning there are no boundaries and no "right" way to play the instruments, - and even though this freejazz mantra is right at the front seat of its creation, - the music coming out of the speakers acts very orchestrated and in tune with everything. Jumping from minimalistic grooves generated by the motorik laden drum work, not entirely unlike that you´ll find on a NEU! album from around the same time, - to the altogether more happening events of the lead instruments such as the electric guitar and saxophone - the textures of Lard Free´s debut differentiate between these wonderfully crafted musical entities. Just like in the aforementioned NEU! - there´s a certain natural progression attached to all these tracks, and the easiest way of describing this is by comparing it to a fountain or a cornucopia. Like turning on a faucet, and then the music just pours out freely without any hesitations or preconceived ideas. Its just there, and that is something which I find pretty amazing, because when you make music like this, there is an infinite amount of things that can go horribly wrong, but here it just doesn´t. It clicks. It happens and conducts itself on its own premise, and sometimes I´ve wondered whether the instruments are playing the musicians and not the other way around.

This is Gilbert Artman´s project and what he does even better than drumming, playing the piano or sculpturing the cryptic sounding synths - is indeed acting like a psychedelic jazz head honcho from the outer rim of Krautrock - creating one of the most enigmatic and unique debut albums I have ever encountered. Much like Zappa was the conductor of his music, Artman too develops this album through the inspiration of the other people involved - swaying the outcome like a genuine classical conductor standing tall in front of the band wearing a black and white penguin costume waving a little stick maniacally around. I think he had an initial idea with this record - he wanted to make something free and in the vein of what unfolded, and then all these other French saboteurs came into the picture with loads of ideas and alternating perspectives - delivering the final spices to the dish. Just like Zappa, I think Artman did an outstanding job of keeping this project focused on the music at hand - and not only streamlined the whole thing, but also maintained that original spark that once originated somewhere in the embers of his own head.

One of my most beloved things about this album is that whenever I play it, all of my surroundings seem to vanish in favour of the crimson blooded sky, that I told you about before. The colours of this angry and violent heaven slowly and quite beautifully cascade onto this music in the most wonderful and incomprehensible way - and I´m often left with an impression of having survived a sneak attack from a sunset trying to drown me in a blood-red glaze and the appropriate music to go with such a thing.

Guldbamsen | 5/5 |


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