Daniel Vallancien, Philippe MatéCreel Pone
CP 223 CD
One thing I've learned as I've grown and progressed through music is that there is an incredible wealth of largely unheralded & seldom-heard music buried deep in the expansive Saravah catalogue, largely due to the street-level largesse of in-house engineer Daniel Vallencien, who aside from engineering a large portion of the canonic BYG catalogue - Don Cherry, Anthony Braxton, Musica Elettronica Viva, Sonny Sharrock, Sunny Murray, etc. - was crucial in the development of the label's sound & aesthetic.
Much like fellow French "Opérateur de Prise du Son" Bruno Menny, Vallencien did occasionally wear his Composer hat, and similarly has but one outing credited under his own name; a session with Saxophonist Philippe Maté that, had it been issued solely under the latter's name, would have been a criminal case - Vallencien's touch goes far beyond that of a typical engineer; he has recast Mate's playing via extensive studio techniques, feedback, tape echo, & re-synthesis, into a monster of a live-electronic hybrid.
What's most fascinating about this record is that, despite the era, geography, & the associations, very little of this (well, actually one track does have its similarities) descends into the sort of Terry Riley "Time-Lag Accumulator" effect a typical early 70s European Sax & Electronics session would imply; this is by & large a proto noise-drone affair, making heavy use of gain-staging & filtering effects to yield an often overblown & careening sound that is both powerfully psychedelic & wildly claustrophobic.
This 2018 edition reproduces the gatefold imagery in all of its glory; a fine addition to the program, one for fans of the recent Regrelh, Philippe Doray, & André Jaume & Michel Redolfi sides.