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Jean-Claude Vannier - Histoire de Melody Vannier (Mixed by Andy Votel)

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Artist: Jean-Claude Vannier

Album: Histoire de Melody Vannier (Mixed by Andy Votel)

Label: B-Music

Review date: Oct. 1, 2009

He’s best known for his swank but uneasy arrangements on Serge Gainsbourg’s pedophilic classic Histoire de Melody Nelson. He’s perhaps best appreciated on his dark, claustrophobic solo joint L’Enfant Assassin des Mouches, a mix of OST funk and musique concrete at once playful and foreboding. Yet, before, during and after the time of his most heralded work, French composer Jean-Claude Vannier was into all kinds of shit.

Andy Votel, a human wiki for all things exotic and groovy, already got a lot of mileage from Finders Keepers’ L’Enfant Assassin reissue, probably one of the most sought-out curios in its catalog. Now, as a “web exclusive” (69 hard copies also exist), he’s created a wall-to-wall mix show of snippets from that album, clips from Vannier’s work with Gainsbourg, a lot of rare references, and some stuff that’s completely unanticipated (dig the increasingly sexual female cackle over the porn-prog bed). There are 60 “cuts.” Each lasts for about a minute. They’re not separately indexed.

This will be sweet torture for obsessive archivists. Few people alive know what all of this is. The sounds pass fleetingly, and the website includes no source information. It would take years to trace them all. The only way to enjoy this patchwork without frustration is to treat it as a wildly eclectic whole and get lost in it.

As with Vannier’s famous work, Histoire de Melody Vannier is at once sexy and propulsive and deeply unsettled. Sour notes jump out from every hook. The mostly female voices sound incorrigibly horny and yet also frustrated and confused. The “cinematic” quality in his music springs not as much from its strident, baroque eclecticism as its does from its ongoing conflicts.

It’s a disorienting rollercoaster ride. And it’s the motherfucker of all make-out records.

By Emerson Dameron

Other Reviews of Jean-Claude Vannier

L'Enfant Assassin des Mouches

Roses Rouge Song / Electro Rapide

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