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Camizole (1999)

The French avant-rock Camizole were active for most of the '70s and toured often, and though they were associated with more well known groups like Etron Fou Leloublan and Lard Free, were never able to release an album. The CD consists of tracks recorded live at various dates in 1977, some of which were going to be released by Tapioca before that company folded. Camizole create an improvised form of rock that is very unstructured and free form, and often quite noisy. At times it sounds a bit like Jean Francois Pauvros and Gaby Bizien's No Man's Land, with similar blistering guitar and percussion freak-outs, while other times the group grooves out on rough-hewn rhythms that are no less freaky. Though closer to rock than jazz, the group, who on most tracks are a quartet, throws saxophone, tuba, and flute and some other odd instruments into the mix with the guitars, drums, and synths, and what they lack in chops they more than make up for with energy and creativity. The few vocals mostly consist of percussionist Jacky Dupety yelling off mic barely heard over the din, though "Charles de Gaulle," the only piece with a proper title, has some weird singing from Etron Fou sax player Chris Chanet. The 13th cut really stands out, as Camizole veer easily from melodic jazz to total percussion freak-out, to a humorous oompah bit while the crowd cheers ecstatically throughout. The other tracks are slightly less distinct, but certainly there's some amazing stuff here, and it's a very good thing this thing has now been released rather than to be lost in the vaults somewhere forgotten. (allmusic)

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