Following the first volume of the ‘Le Mystère de la Musique‘ series, here’s ‘Volume Deux,’ which continues to explore the music that links the seemingly disparate sonic strands on which Musicophilia mixes have focused–especially early 70s funk- and art-rooted music and late 70s/early 80s post-punk. This mix retains the off-center, mysterious quality of the series, but is perhaps a little funkier and more pop-oriented, featuring some very catchy music indeed.
‘Volume Two‘ begins and ends with quiet ruminations on the joys and pitfalls of love from Kevin Ayers and long-lost German chanteuse Sibylle Baier. The nebulous territory between “Prog” and post-punk, “proto-punk” and new pop is mapped out here by artists like David Bowie, (very early, very catchy) Laurie Anderson, and Television, with Brian Eno and This Heat adding minimalist textural links. French artists Emmanuelle Perrenin (usually a more pastoral musician, but here found creating a completely out-of-time hip-hop beat) and Albert Marcoeur add a touch of RIO sophistication. Robert Wyatt approximates a New Orleans jazz funeral dirge through a lamp-lighted street, and vibraphonist Roy Ayers brings the big-beat jazz-funk to close out Side A. Luciano Cilio creates sensitive, minimal music that presages the understated experimentation of beautiful modern chamber group Penguin Cafe Orchestra. Augustus Pablo floats his famous melodica over one of the funkiest dub tracks ever made. Among the least known artists found here, Canadian Lewis Furey struts confidently through his sophisticated art-pop that envelopes many of the sounds found elsewhere on the LP–jazzy drumming and brass arrangements, funky bass, pop harmonies, vibraphones and a sweet-and-sour wit. Full tracklist and download link for this LP-length mix (with full “sleeve art” and “liner notes”) at the “more…” link.
Various Artists – ‘Le Mystère de la Musique,’ Volume Two
(Musique du Monde, France – 1977)
A1 [00:00] Kevin AYERS – “Thank You Very Much (Demo)” (Unreleased, 1975) England
A2 [02:56] David BOWIE – “Weeping Wall” (Low, 1977) England
A3 [05:45] Emmanuelle PARRENIN – “Topaze” (Maison Rose, 1977) France
A4 [07:26] Albert MARCOEUR – “Elle Itait Belle” (Album a Colorier, 1976) France
A5 [10:17] Laurie ANDERSON – “It’s Not the Bullet That Kills You” (Airwaves, 1976) USA
A6 [13:55] Robert WYATT – “Song for Che” (Ruth is Stranger Than Richard, 1975) England
A7 [17:28] Roy AYERS – “A Tear To A Smile” (A Tear To A Smile, 1975) USA
B1 [00:00] Luciano CILIO – “Dialoghi dal Presente, Part 3” (Dialoghi dal Presenti, 1977) Italy
B2 [02:06] TELEVISION – “Prove It” (Marquee Moon, 1977) USA
B3 [07:04] This HEAT – “Basement Boy” (BBC session, 1977) England
B4 [08:40] Augustus PABLO – “East of the River Nile” (East of the River Nile, 1977) Jamaica
B5 [11:28] Lewis FUREY – “Last Night” (Lewis Furey, 1975) Canada
B6 [14:25] Brian ENO – “Aragon” (Unreleased, 1976) England
B7 [15:30] Penguin CAFE ORCHESTRA – “Chartered Flight” (Music From the Penguin Cafe, 1976) England
B8 [21:09] Sibylle BAIER – “The End” (Unreleased, 1974) Germany
[Total Time: 46:56]
Rough Translation, Back Cover:
“How does one describe the mystery of music? Perhaps it’s best to let music speak for itself: language may get in the way. And so we present ‘Le Mystère de la Musique,’ which explores the changing sound of a world where borders are disintegrating between sounds, and between people. Across the discs of this series you will find feelings of the night, of the unknown, of the new and as yet undefined. This music refuses to fit itself to the old, established genres and boundaries. Instead, it pushes forward into a future where freedom of expression and breadth of creativity are the central reasons for being. The mystery is not a riddle to be solved: it asks you to revel in the indescribable, the unknown, the journey and not the destination. Open your ears, and your mind will follow, through the mystery of music.”
The Musique du Monde label built its reputation in the late 60s and the early 70s issuing some of the hippest, grooviest and eclectic collections of the era, the ‘Le Tour du Monde’ and ‘Les Miniatures’ series. It is secondarily revered for its early 80s collections of discoid madness, ‘Les Rythmes du Monde’. But among the lesser-known contributions to musical mind-expansion of Musique is a group of mid-to-late-70s compilations that explored a more nebulous territory, one that bridged the gap between the earlier funk- and psych-based music of the ‘Le Tour’ discs and the post-punk realm explored by the contemporary heir to Musique’s curatorial role, the Musicophilia Co. This nearly forgotten series, called ‘Le Mystère de la Musique,’ can perhaps be described as the night to Le Tour’s day: living up to its “mystery” moniker, the series threads through the darker edges of progressive funk, pop, folk, fusion-oriented jazz, electronic and concrete music, nascent art-rock (that would eventually be called “post-punk,”) and even touches of country and sound library music. Much of the music is difficult to categorise meaningfully, even thirty years later. But such was the Musique ethos, even in the earlier days: to celbrate the “mystery” of the connections and blurring lines between seemingly disparate forms of recorded sound. ‘Le Mystère de la Musique’ remains enticingly mysterious, even though many of the artists found across its platters are well-loved today.
— I. Sonnecomme, September 2009