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Plat Du Jour

Eclectic Prog

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Retired Admin
5 stars Eclectic behaviour

I have read time and again people relegating the lost and obscure records as lost causes - albums left for dead in the wake of popular hard hitting easy to grasp, and perhaps more importantly: lucky and exposed releases. Who knows what makes the world go round - except for money that is? And who knows what makes or breaks an album? The answers aren't that clear-cut as most people will have you know. There is a reason why Magma still are going strong without a trace of commercialism in their bloodline...

Plat du Jour are one of my greatest musical discoveries from the last year or so. Man oh man - I'll tell you, for even the most hard edged prog rock fans - there's bound to be something of interest in this magical release. The funky almost Stevie Wonder rolling rock of the opener 5 Autoroute - spliced up with that distinctive French Zeuhl vibe that oozes through in the rhythm section. The space fusion of the second cut Zilbra, that alternates between psychedelic sneaking - slowly developing sonic sunrise notes - to the maniacal propulsive shapeshifting jazz rock that it suddenly becomes. Or maybe the mad avant tinged Motown madness of Totem that comes next with its crazy French vocals, and an insistent groove to it that will have even the funkiest brother at the party shakin' dat ass on the coffee table. Ahhhh you want soothing beautiful high soaring intimacy with some of the most alluring vocal work known to man? Got you boy! L'Homme is your thing then. The way it breaks into those sandcastles of slow moving guitar figurines on top of the hand drums - makes me curl up my toes and shoot my load out on the rim of the planetary systems. WUUUUHHUUU!!!!! Nah you want the low down tunnelling dirty rat fusion that drills its way down in the hard brown soil with Rock n Speed! The track that takes the streets of Rouen anno 1977 directly into your living room with boisterous beats, tooting sax and the tangible swaying refinement of the ending that closes with a kiss instead of the mayhem that started it. 11 Autoroute finishes off the album with the booming stuttering bass dancing an ethereal waltz with the effervescent synths and docile yet affirmative drumming. It then breaks into the Zeuhlish fusion Motown groove, that all through the album threatens to overtake the moods and tempers of the individual tracks - but it doesn't. The balance is always kept - leaving the listener with an astonishing musical example of eclectic behaviour.

I love everything about this release - the fact that it manages to be funky, psychedelic, Zeuhlish, Motown throbbing, experimental, soothing, avant-guarde in some places - and then not really, because what this album holds in spades, is the will and dexterity to transform even the most convoluted of pieces into something lovable and beautiful. It is literally that good. So come on people - all together now: Re-issue, Re-issue, Re-issue!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Suffice to say, that Plat du Jour tops out at the mesosphere - and then sets off to the moon and beyond. Together with the earthy homage coming from the rhythm section - that deep mole foundation, the interplanetary galaxy fighters of sonic bliss ie synths, vocals, reeds and guitars are headed for the unknown fast whilst deeply anchored in the ground. This music is eclectic beyond anything, which is one of its biggest and most alluring attributes. If you want to listen to it, because lets face it, music is nothing if nobody ever sits down and has a listen to it, then by all means: dive straight down inside their MySpace account and stream this baby for free. It needs your ears and heart badly!

Report this review (#773950)
Posted Tuesday, June 19, 2012 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
5 stars I loved this right from the first listen. This obscure French band released this one album back in 1977. The sax, fuzzed out guitar, throbbing bass, mad vocals,electric piano along with that catchy beat spells brilliance. On the one hand it is melodic yet at the same time challenging and innovative. Never dull always interesting. Once again thankyou David, your reviews inspire.

"5 Autoroute" opens with relaxed sax and sparse electric piano. The guitar kicks in around a minute with drums. The sax and electric piano continue but with more passion. Vocals before 3 minutes and the guitar is grinding away after 4 minutes until it starts to rip it up a minute later. Nice. Amazing tune ! "11 Autoroute" opens with atmosphere which continues until it kicks in just before 2 minutes with the drums and electric piano standing out. The bass joins in then some fuzzed out guitar. It settles back around 3 1/2 minutes but not for long as the electric piano, drums and guitar become more aggressive once again. Atmosphere 4 1/2 minutes in to the end. "Zilbra" is uptempo with percussion and vocal expressions early on. It settles back as the vocals sing lyrics here. It kicks back in before 4 minutes with guitar and theatrical vocals leading the way.

"Totem" is a catchy mid-paced tune. How good are the vocals ! It settles back as the organ and drums start to lead then it builds. Guitar before 5 minutes. Great sound ! A dead calm before 7 minutes then reserved vocals come in to end it. "L'homme" has strummed guitar, a slow beat and mellow vocals. Fuzzed guitar and electric piano replace the vocals as it gets dirty. "Rock 'N' Speed" features sax, electric piano and more in this uptempo soundscape. Drums and guitar kick in as the sax plays over top. It does settle back and the sax is dissonant at times.

It's an absolute pleasure to listen to something as adventerous and enjoyable as this.

Report this review (#815150)
Posted Tuesday, September 4, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Plat Du Jour - st (1977)

The main reason for me to keep a daily watch on PA is to find new bands like this French avant-prog/fusion group. Reading two well written reviews and a great bio made me want to listen to this album that can be found for free on myspace (searching on google you can also find a download).

Plat Du Jour is a very obscure, yet brilliantly recorded, one-album band from French with a unique style. The music is daring, expressive and pioneering. My best description would sound as follows; Take the heavy avant-prog composion of Quiet Sun, some of the atmospheres of both Cos and Can and spread it with a French fusion (Zeuhl-influenced) sauce. The music is therefor very attractive for listeners of Canterbury, kraut, psych, avant-garde and eclectic prog. The music has a fusion and funk basis, but the bizar vocals (both mellow folk & very psychedelic) and atmospheres with shredding free-jazz guitars and even some hammonds screaming for survival (in the track 'Totum') make this an unforgettable experience. The rhythms are often complicated, yet repetitive; hence the link to the Canterbury scene. During the track 'L'Homme' we are also treated with some experimental symphonic guitar effects after the experimental folky vocals.

Conclusion. Progressive rock with the big P, every musician's a winner, garentued baffling first listening experience and totally unique. This could be PA top 25 material in my opinion. Don't miss out on this one.

Report this review (#815302)
Posted Wednesday, September 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
5 stars Friso's review of this album has made me very curious about it, so I took the suggestion of the free download and after few listens I'm already here for my review.

It's not that every French band or artist has to be classified as Zeuhl, but effectively I initially wondered why Plat Du Jour is not in that subgenre. The opener "5 Autoroute" has everything to be considered Zeuhl: even if the vocals are screamed drums, bass and sax work in a way that's between Magma and Art Zoyd.....two big names just to start. It's with the guitar solo that really rocks that the difference comes to air. Then bass and keys makes it more jazzy for a crescendo that is suddenly interrupted by the end of a track that could have proceeded for twice its length.

At the crossroad we turn to "11 Autoroute". This one starts with keys and bass and still reminds me to the two big ones (let me clarify that even if founder of the RIO I consider Art Zoyd very close to Zeuhl), but after a slow start the music becomes very jazzy and this may explain why they are eclectic: I'm used to call this "Canterbury" in a Soft Machine sense.

"Zilbra", still maintaining the jazzy flavor is different from the previous two. It has clean vocals (apart for the last growled minute) and a lazy bluesy ongoing. Definitely not Zeuhl. It reminds me to the early albums of Modry Efekt. Very in advance with its time for a 1977 release.

"Totem" starts bluesy too and is the album's highlight. How can I describe it? Based mainly on two chords with a good base of bass if flows very well adding a touch of psychedelia to the album. In the last minutes it slows down and fades out in a very melodic way. Great song.

"L'Homme"(The Man) starts from where Totem ends: acoustic guitar and voice and ends to be a very good song.

"Rock 'n Speed" explores the fusion realm with a lot of funk for the first two minutes, then it becomes a little unstructured and surely less easy with the sax in the foreground interpreting the leader's role. Two minutes more and it slows to "dark ambient". Piano and sax add jazz to a floydian keyboard layout and again I think to Canterbury, at least to the Caravan of Waterloo Lily but with much more jazz. Also this closing track ends suddenly leaving me wishing for more of this.

Let's rate this "eclectic" album with the maximum, then I think I'll give a spin to some Univers Zero

Report this review (#815858)
Posted Thursday, September 6, 2012 | Review Permalink
Post/Math Rock Team
5 stars The only self-titled album from this obscure French band. Released in 1977, this sounds like 70s prog yet also sounds unique at the same time. Musically there are moments of jazz-rock and psych rock with hints of Zeuhl and avant-rock. Sometimes this album sounds like a less crazy Etron Fou Leloublan (who also released their first album in 1977). You can listen to the album on Myspace; I heard it there years ago but forgot the actual URL for it. Thanks to David(Guldbamsen) for reminding me of the address in his review. This is one of the few albums in the PA database that deserves all the 5-star ratings it receives.

"5 Autoroute" starts off the album in a very subdued jazzy manner with saxophone and electric piano. Guitar and drums enter and the music goes into an almost Gong-style, slightly funky jazz-rock vibe. Vocals arrive sounding in between yelling and singing in a rough voice. Some phased guitar picking and steady hi-hat brings some urgency to the track. Killer guitar solo towards the end. "11 Autoroute" is the second half of this mini-epic, although it's basically a different song. After an almost spacey beginning it suddenly switches to some great jazz-rock. About halfway changes to some kind of Zeuhl/Canterbury hybrid. Mellows out later.

"Zilbra" is a highlight. Starting off very upbeat and festive sounding with scat-like singing. A guitar figure leads the band into a more laid-back sound while the vocals become more accessible and melodic. Nice jazzy guitar playing in the middle before the drumming gets more upfront. Suddenly it changes to a heavy rockin' section with aggressive vocals. "Totem" is another highlight which you can listen to on PA. Based around a funky mid-paced groove. The vocals here are pretty nuts, or in other words: awesome! The guitar tones are generally great. Some organ leads the band into an instrumental section. Pretty intense stuff. Goes back to the vocal section before ending on a quiet note with almost whispered singing.

"L'homme" is the most accessible and mainstream track on the album. Basically just vocals and acoustic guitar with a little bit of percussion and electric piano. Features the most 'normal' singing on the album. Around halfway begins a simple yet memorable fuzzed- out guitar line. "Rock N Speed" has a title that would translate into "crack and meth" in today's world. Very jazzy saxophone soloing before the whole band plays hard (rock) and fast (speed). Slows down in the middle but doesn't stop rockin'. Eventually mellows out and the tempo decreases even more. A great one-shot album from the late 1970s. Well written, well played and sounds great (not too polished but fits the mood of the music perfectly). So, I'll give this a 4.5 but bump it up to 5 stars.

Report this review (#872757)
Posted Friday, December 7, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's quite strange that such an unknown record is still fully listenable on both Myspace and multiple times on Youtube. I don't know the reason for that but i'm very glad that I can easily listen the entire album on Youtube. Apart from one account called Aenaida, that posted the entire album in a playlist, and two videos with the first two songs from different accounts, there are no videos of anything of Plat du Jour. Together they have just above 2000 views, of which 1500 for a video called 'Plat du Jour - Autoroute', containing 11 Autoroute only. This is probably because it's the first link for the term 'Plat du Jour', which is quite common.

As said before, this album is a forgotten classic album of prog, jazz and avant. Music as never heard before. A fresh relaxed mix of everything, with a clear French taste. I have also tried to find more about the performers, but got stuck on something about Francois Ovide and even rarely any information about Speedball Records. That's why there's little hope that it will ever be re- released on cd and that's too bad, because this is something many music-lovers will enjoy a lot. Still, I will have to break the chain of 5-star ratings because it just lacks the power at some points, but anyone who's a bit into this kind of music should absolutely give it a try, because it's easy to listen, fun and original. An excellent album.

Report this review (#891426)
Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Plat Du Jour: unknown french one shot masterpiece (from the later 70s) of the ecletic progressive rock, in the avant garde vein and weird jazz songwriting. Funky rhythms, technical bass playing, noisy guitars, dissonant sax, outstanding drums and dat keyboards. What else did you need? I like the freak time signatures and tempo changes. The first two tracks are most instrumental. They're great! At Zilbra, the third track, you will find some of the vocals habilities from Vincent Denis. Never saw him, but I like his vocals: from high smooth to a proto death metal agression. The B side starts out with Totem, the lenghty track of the album. L'homme is a song to break the chaos, based on the acoustic guitar and vocals. And finally the last track, Rock N Speed, it start as a fast rock, as the title description, and falls into a delicious atmospheric jazz. No weak moment. It's just the way it should be.
Report this review (#992120)
Posted Friday, July 5, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Reminiscent at that point of a looser and less fussy version of mid-1970s King Crimson with influences from Zeuhl, Canterbury, and jazz fusion, Plat du Jour's self-titled album is an intriguing obscurity which combines various challenging strands of 1970s progressive rock into a single cohesive sound. I don't think it's an unalloyed masterpiece, but it's a strong piece of work whose obscurity is thoroughly undeserved. Guitarist Vincent Denis is the most immediately impressive member of the band, but most of his bandmates put in a strong performance too.

It doesn't quite resonate enough with me to get an unalloyed recommendation, mind. Some might find the production values mildly off-putting, and though the sound of the album is quite diverse, in some respects this ends up working against it - it often feels unfocused, and the band seem to touch on a range of styles without carving out a distinctive identity for themselves. Still, it's a very strong three star number that's worth a listen if you are into avant-prog from this period.

Report this review (#1052261)
Posted Thursday, October 3, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars This delightful record is enhanced by its obscure, one-off nature. The songs are high caliber, super groovy french rock and roll with prog colors. Zibra is especially effective with it's African beginning and it's pleading, almost whispered lyrics which of course I understand none of the meaning. A rocking screaming minute brings the song to a close. The next song, Totem, is a killer funk jam, it sounds great.

I have a great friend I've worked with a long time, he's an older guy that loves Led Zeppelin and Foghat and classic rock radio. He likes prog too, but he hates anything I share with lyrics other than English. Well, he's now hooked on Plat du Jour, and his wife is hooked too. That's all the proof I need to give this five stars.

This album is great right out of the box, broken in like the finest shoes.

Report this review (#1082763)
Posted Wednesday, November 27, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Hello I am Olivier Pedron, and i was the drummer in Plat du Jour I am really happy and surprised to see this web site about the group I have many things to say but i have to write them in French Sorry

Le groupe a été fondé à Pâques 1974 dans la région de Rouen en Normandie et se composait de : Demos/ chant, P Doray/ Paroles, François Ovide/guitare, Rodolphe Moulin/Bass, Jacques Staub/claviers et Olivier Pédron/batterie Après des mois et des mois de travail il y a eu des concerts dans la région normande, plusieurs villes en France et plusieurs dates en Hollande dont une au Melkweg d'Amsterdam En décembre 1975, le groupe se sépare après de nombreux conflits et chacun part dans son coin pour travailler et rembourser les dettes En juin 1976, le groupe se reforme en vue d'enregistrer un album, mais le personnel est différent: Francois Ovide a définitivement quitté pour jouer avec A Marcoeur, et nous ne souhaitons plus travailler avec Demos au chant ni avec P Doray. Nous contactons un nouveau guitariste (Vincent Denis), nous intégrons un Sax (Alain Potier) et Rodolphe se met au chant C'est dans cette formation que nous enregistrons l'album et la musique est différente de ce qui s'est joué jusqu'alors, beaucoup plus "Jazzy" Ensuite nous faisons plusieurs concerts dont un au festival Beaurock sous chapiteau devant 6000 personnes, dans différentes formatons dont une avec 2 bassistes Fin 1977, c'est la mort définitive du groupe Voila Je suis tout prêt à d'autres commentaires

O Pedron "aldo"

Report this review (#1149384)
Posted Monday, March 17, 2014 | Review Permalink
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
5 stars A brain melting stew of jazz-fusion, Zeuhl and avant-garde experimentation with a pinch of the Canterbury sound (plus anything else you can think of!), the debut/one-off album from obscure French collective Plat du Jour from 1977 is a bewildering but utterly indispensable work! Holding six tracks of dissonant weary sax, noisy guitars, thick liquid bass, sparkling electric piano, colourful keyboards, a battery of rattling drumming and screeching deranged French vocal twitches, it's an eclectic mix that makes for one completely mad vintage era prog album that's worthy of so much more attention and status!

The schizophrenic lead track `5 & 11' opens with drowsy wafting sax ambience and sighing voices before exploding into stuttering filthy and wild electric guitar spasms, nightmarish electric piano trickles and a pained howling vocal, all permeated with a creeping Zeuhl-like menace. `Autoroute' is book-ended by shimmering dreamy washes of glistening ambient synths and ruminative bass, but diverts into a maddening Zeuhl eruption of snarling guitar gargles and murky fuzzed distortion in between. The baffling `Zilbra' moves through everything from pumping dancing beats with funky serpentine bass to sauntering chilled guitar jamming and crooning falsetto before a Canterbury-flavoured dirty fuzz-organ climax behind a Can/Damo Suzuki-like inane spitting scat vocal rant - phew!

Mud-thick slithering bass and maniacal swirling Hammond organ runs graft supremely dirty grooves to the heavily improvised `Totem', guitar crashing through everything from bluesy struts and snarling psychedelic wailing. `L'Homme' is a pleasingly lo-fi and shambling acoustic ballad flecked with the lightest of electric piano tiptoes, droning electronics and fuzzy electric guitar distortion, and closer `Rock 'N' Speed' is a rip-roaring jazz-fusion blowout of spiralling sax and breakneck drumming with a nice mellow come-down in the closing minutes.

After taunting listeners with only a long-vanished initial vinyl run in the Seventies and some uploaded teasing clips on Youtube, finally the `Plat du Jour' album is available again in 2016 on reissued LP and CD sets from the Paisley Press label, so open-minded prog fans can easily track it down again - likely for the first time!

The schizophrenic nature of this set will either make or break the album for listeners, and some of production is a bit do-it- yourself, but these inconsistencies are exactly what give the album a rough grit that makes it even more delicious. If you click with it, there's a ton of danger-laced, unhinged and addictive grooving noise to love with `Plat du Jour', and those looking for fascinating obscurities and unpolished musical gems will likely relish what they find here. It's another in the long line of bizarre one-and-done acts that left a sole precious work to treasure and count among the absolutely essential prog-related fringe albums.

Four and a half stars.

Report this review (#1696757)
Posted Saturday, February 25, 2017 | Review Permalink

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