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Ilitch - 10 Suicides (1980)


Like other 1970s European electronic rock artists from Heldon to Conrad Schnitzer, Ilitch owes more to the avant-garde experiments of Stockhausen and Xenakis than to the rock and roll of Chuck Berry or even the Beatles. The comparisons with Heldon are apt, since like Heldon, Ilitch came out of France, was the work of mostly one person, Thierry Muller, and the music is quite similar to Heldon as well, using unconventional guitars as well as keyboards and other electronics to create strange textures and sounds. Muller was a photographer and graphic artist from Paris who started making recordings in the early 1970s using prepared guitars, harmonium, and even using the tape recorder as another instrument. Initially he worked completely solo but by late 1975 he was being helped by Ruth Ellyeri. In 1976 his brother Patrick Muller on EMS synthisizer and treated guitar joined Ilitch, for a live performance at the Café La Manille, in Paris, and the duo also played there the following two years as well. In October and November of that year, Ilitch recorded the material for the LP Periodikmindtrouble, but by the time the LP was released, in 1978, the original second side was scrapped for other more recent material. This album featured abstract music that was completely instrumental and with a heavy use of electronics. Though this is considered the first Ilitch LP, in fact a year earlier Muller released Portraits in an extremely limited edition of one with hand painted cover. By 1980 Ellyeri, on guitars, vocals and electronics, became more integral to the Ilitch sound, and Muller occasionally added in synth player Philippe Doray and saxophonist Patrick Dubot into Ilitch as well. They released a second LP, 10 Suicides that year, a more varied album that included some heavily processed vocals as well as a sixteen page booklet with many of Muller?s photo-collages. The same year under the Ilitch name Thierry released the cassette only PTM Works, as well as the one-sided LP Culture, which was credited to him and Edouard Nono. After this Muller took a break from music for a couple years, but in 1982 he began work on a new project. The project eventually became the group Ruth (though Ruth Ellyeri wasn?t a part of it), as Muller began collaborating with many more musicians for recordings done in 1984 and 1985. Ruth?s music was far more polished and accessible, adding a quirky new wave twist to Muller?s textured guitar and synth treatments. The Ruth LP Polaroid-Romans-Photos came out in 1985 with a 12-page booklet with more of Muller?s photomontages. That same year Muller released an EP with Doray called Pile on Face. Muller stopped pursuing music for the most part to devote more time to graphic arts after the Ruth album, though he did release three more extremely limited records, D. Prune Tributes Volumes 1 through 3, under his own name between 1989 and 1991. Though his records had limited releases and have long been out of print, much of his music has recently been made available on CD by the Fractal label. (amg)


The 10 compositions of this concept album are musical transpositions of 10 suicides situations, 10 suicides feelings. It can sound like a real hymn to suicide but, like in any suicides, on the road to death you can always feel a strong and deep idea of inner life. It is in fact a logic suite to the first album “Periodikmindtrouble”, but with more maturity,ideas in his construction and more various instruments used : vocoder guitar, sequencer, synthetizer, bass, saxophone, piano, harmonium, noise, treatments, vocals. (soundohm)

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