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Planète-Concrète is both an homage to, and an investigation of, the occult dimension found in French music and spoken word from the second half of the 20th century, emphasizing both the cosmic and musique concrète riches of the period. It was premiered as a continuous 2-hour-mix on LYL Radio in July 2019 with additional music not included on this Bandcamp album, where old out of print releases, private pressings and public domain material has been selected.

The title refers to writer and publisher Louis Pauwels (1920-1997), famous co-author of Le Matin des Magiciens (The Morning of the Magicians, 1960) and publisher of Planète magazine, 1961-71. Through numerous activities, Pauwels explored ancient mysteries in various civilizations from the past as well as modern occultism found in contemporary science, art and literature. In fact, Pauwels’ unique vision inspired the whole Planète-Concrète project. The opening track features his voice from a 1963 conference titled Introduction au Réalisme Fantastique (Introduction to Magic Realism, my translation).

Accordingly, the rest of the album was build on samples and excerpts from obscure LPs in my record collection, be it Rosicrucian or Yoga records, mystic musicians like Sri Danesh and Antoine Tisné, or avantgarde, private press releases by Alain Louvier, Armand Lemal, Patrice Boyer or Théatre Aleph. The sounds of harpsichord and carillon reappear repeatedly throughout Planète-Concrète like a dotted line, their abundant harmonics representing a bridge between cosmic and avantgarde music, a quality also found in the Ondes Martenot, here featured (tr.#7) in a cut-up of Antoine Tisné’s boisterous score for the instrument, Visions des Temps Immémoriaux (1972).

Central piece L’Hermaphrodite contains the voices of a couple of 1950s French actors reading a famous passage from proto-Surrealist writer Comte de Lautréamont’s masterpiece Les Chants de Maldoror (1869). The curious poem –a queer manifesto avant la lettre– is used as an excuse for grotesque reverb, insane synth sounds and heavily transformed vocals. The original LP, issued in the 1950s, features music concrète interjections by Michel Philippot, a member of Pierre Schaeffer’s Groupe de Recherches Musicales at the time.

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Alexis empties his drawers for his first show of 2018, and pulls out some of his favourite gear of the past year.
Only top shelf clobber and as usual mixing vintage and new, waiting for the new collections to come!

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