Album Review

Areski & Fontaine, Brigitte – “Je Ne Connais Pas Cet Homme” – [Superior Viaduct]

Naysayer   10/20/2015   12-inch, A Library

Oui Oui Oui. I live for this stuff. Who says the 1970’s and the French suck. Not me no no no. Rereleased on the brilliant Superior Viaduct label continuing the project to rerelease all of Brigitte Fontaine’s recordings, this stunner continues looking at one of the most outstanding stylists and avant pop explorers of the last two centuries. Fontaine’s career was, and continues to be varied and illustrious. “Je Ne Connais Pas Cet Homme”, originally from 1973, came after the notorious recording with the Art Ensemble of Chicago. This is her second recording with Areski, singer and performer of Algerian descent, and also her partner. Fontaine and Areski’s collaborations are extensive, with experimental recordings and stage productions which still challenge and entertain. “Je Ne…” is a gorgeous, rich and very intimate cycle of songs influenced by European folk and North African musical traditions. Duets are sung, spoken, sungspoken in and around minimal percussion and Jean Querlier’s flute and sax. It’s as if we are sitting around the fire pit on yak and llama rugs in Areski and Fontaine’s country home, listening to them serenade us while we dip into the fondue pot and drink sweet wine. Fontaine’s sometimes almost whispery, sometimes childlike vocals feel like she is quietly singing in your ear, while Areski’s deeper tones balance the sonic party. C’est magnifique.

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