The Anti Rubber Brain Factory: Musiques De Rêves Et De D​é​mences

Paris-based collective combines trancy moods, modal vamps, free improvisation, ethnic percussion and jazz soloing

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A couple of years ago I favourably reviewed ARBF’s Marokaït, a vibrant mix of Moroccan and other North African traditional music elements and free jazz, and quoted the collective’s manifesto of “cultural destabilization designed to awaken the world from its dreamy lethargic comforts by offering a seamless and uncompromising music to a maximum audience, whether they be prepared or not…”.

The title of this album seems to announce a further disturbing mixture – some of the rêves sound a little cauchemar-ish – and there are certainly some very abrasive passages but there is also much to exhilarate and uplift as well as some haunting interludes and perhaps some soupçons of humour. However, it must be mere coincidence that the opening chords of Todo De Ti are the same as those of the signature tune of Alexei Sayle’s Imaginary Sandwich Bar (or maybe they both got the sequence from elsewhere?)

The explosive start of Le Cri Du Jnoun would scarcely pale alongside the opening ensemble of John Coltrane’s Ascension or even Peter Brötzmann’s Machine Gun. This is a joint composition by Rosilio and Guenoun, and my search engine tells me that Jnoun is “a creative studio initiated by two sisters, Meriem and Zahra Bennani [and] evolves [revolves?] between Rabat, Paris and New York” – another connection with Morocco there.

All the other pieces are compositions by Rosilio except, of course, McHugh & Fields’ Don’t Blame Me which, after a gentle bass intro, develops a constantly shape-shifting interpretation, although the original melody is never far away. Overall the album is further evidence of the fertility of the French jazz scene as represented by the LFDS (Le Fondeur de Son) label and artists collective.

Discography
U Want To Sleeeeeeep; Raoul’s Visions; Deep-low-doc-uS; Todo De Ti; Le Crie Du Jnoun; Don’t Blame Me (72.25)
Collectively: Jean-Michel Couchet (ss, as); Benoit Guenoun (f, ts, acc); Florent Dupiut (bugle, f, picc, ts), Jérôme Fouquet (t); Nicolas Souchal (bugle, t)  Brenda Ohana (vib);  Wally Loume (pc); Julien Catherine (d); Niels Mestre (g); Jean-Philippe Saulou (fx); François Mellan (sousaphone, vtb); Yoram Rosilio (b, syn, pc, Gheïta); Karsten Hochapfel (g, clo); Piliv Bodzin (bcl); Olivia Scemama, Leïla Soldevilla (b). Arcuil, Paris, 9-11 June 2021.
LFDS 019