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Jean-Jacques Birgé, Francis Gorgé, Shiroc - Défense de (1975)

The cult album (Défense de belongs to the Nurse With Wound List) from 1975, reissued in 2004 by MIO records,  for the first time on CD with unpublished material from the same sessions. The set includes a DVD which features, for the first time as well, the Avant-Garde/Psychedelic movie La nuit du phoque made by Jean-Jacques Birgé and Bernard Mollerat in 1974 (English, French, Hebrew, Japanese subtitles) and June Sessions, 6 hours of music made by the trio/quartet between 1975-1976.
  • Jean-Jacques Birgé - synthesizer ARP 2600, keyboards, tapes, alto sax, flutes, strings, percussion
  • Francis Gorgé - guitars, bass, cello, percussion
  • Antoine Duvernet - tenor sax (on 1, 3)
  • Jean-Louis Bucchi - piano Fender Rhodes (on 4,7,8)
  • Shiroc - drums, percussion (on 2, 4,7,8, Studioscope)
  • Gilles Rollet - drums, percussion (on Studioscope)
MIO continues what's looking like a campaign to reissue all the lost gems of the Nurse With Wound list with this long-forgotten and seminal document of the French progressive scene. Birgé Gorgé Shiroc were Jean-Jacques Birgé, Francis Gorgé, and Shiroc before the first two formed the flagship prog collective Un Drame Musical Instantane. Recorded in 1975, Défense de is their only record under the BGS moniker, entering the arms of obscurity only one year before Un D.M.I. became active. As such, the record paints a picture of the Birgé and Gorgé in an early stage of their development, but one that was already overflowing with good ideas.

The music is highly improvisational with strong ties to the free jazz and fusion of the day, made progressive almost single-handedly through Birgé's obsession with bizarre synthesizer sounds and his ability to incorporate a huge variety of exotic instruments, toys, tapes, even birdcalls into the mix. Much of the album sounds like Crossings/Sextant-era Herbie Hancock with a gritty, psychedelic edge where simmering, minimal passages get broken up by clustered freak-outs instead of nimble funk turns. At under 45-min., Défense de needed a little padding for reissue, and MIO has been more than generous. To the CD they've added a bonus half-hour of album-session outtakes, and the package also includes a DVD with six hours worth of home tapes and live material, plus a 40-min. film by Birg? and film school friend Bernard Mollerat called La Nuit Du Phoque ("The Night of the Seal"). Predictably, this previously-unreleased music, dubbed collectively "The June Sessions," explains Stapleton's fondness for the group much better than the album, the only thing he could have possibly heard. They show BGS at their most adventurous, dabbling in everything from murky, proto-industrial textures, to Fripp-ian guitar ascensions, to the extended, vague takes on music drama that inform their work as Un D.M.I. The band's wide-open approach to constructing their multi-layered compositions is no doubt what attracted Stapleton's ear, and these sessions make available near-exhausting investigations into the group's "process." The film is good too, a hilarious Dadaist trip through Paris and surrounding environs, with English subtitles and a score that isolates Birgé's more ambient, textural approach to synthesizer and organ sound. The enormity of this reissue is enough to guarantee its appeal to fans of prog-anything, and admirers of Un Drame Musical Instantane will be shocked that a cache this large has eluded them for so long. (source)

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