Outstanding. **Jac Berrocal’s first remarkable albums in fully remastered form on 200g vinyl, contained within a beautiful box and individual metallic covers and 24 page, deluxe book** Every serious fan of avant-garde jazz knows that, for a great many years, France was a central axis for the global scene - a safe haven and source of support for countless visionary voices from the United States and other points abroad. Until recently, what has remained relatively under observed, is the country’s remarkable indigenous contributions to this field of improvised sound. Often working quietly among themselves, issuing their releases on small imprints, as well as working with their international peers, the French scene unleashed a remarkable body of sound which was broke boundaries and was loyal to none. Chief among its figures was singer, composer & trumpeter Jac Berrocal, who’s name many will recognize because of SouffleContinu’s beautiful reissue of his album, La Nuit Est Au Courant, from 2017. Now we’re thrilled to bear witness to the emergence of a stunning triple LP box - 1973 -1976 -1979 - from the wild and adventurous French imprint, Rotorelief, collecting fully remastered versions of Berrocal’s seminal and rare first three albums. It’s absolute wonder for the years.
Jac Berrocal, while not as well know and recognized today as should be, was a crucial figure in the scene of French avant-gardism which emerged toward the end of the 1960 and stretched across the 70s and 80s, and included figures like Bernard Vitet, Jean Guérin, Jef Gilson, Jean-François Pauvros, and Gaby Bizien, among many others, as well as projects like Camizole and Dharma, etc. Freely blending countless influences and forgoing loyalty to any form of purism, their adventures, once encountered, are destined to bend the brain. It was into this world that Berrocal found a home for his remarkable creative voice. The bulk of his output emerged within self led ensembles, as well as within seminal ensemble, Catalogue, of which he is a founding member, as well as carving out a place within the bands of Lol Coxhill and Pascal Comelade.
Rotorelief’s latest, incredible ambitious release, 1973 -1976 -1979, contains the entirety of Berrocal’s crucial, early body of work, captured by his first three LPS - Musiq Musik, issued by the formidable Futura Records in 1973, as well as Parallèles and Catalogue, issued by d'Avantage in 1976 and 1979. Each represents its own world of radical and revelatory sound. Musiq Musik, made as trio with Dominique Coster and Roger Ferlet, draws on a fascinating array of instrumentation - vocals, percussion, bells, trombone, whistle, balloon, explosives, trumpet, shenai, harmonium, and a great a deal more - to sculpt one of the most singular artifacts within the body of indigenous French improvisation. There’s almost like it which comes to mind. Stunningly structured and visionary, filled with careful articulation of percussive and tonal texture, threaded by vocal chanty drones, it can’t help but knock you off you seat and make you question everything you thought you knew. Parallèles, issued in 1976, featuring a brilliant cast of players - Bernard Vitet, Roger Ferlet, Pierre Bastien, Michel Potage, is no less brilliant. Arguably more vast in range - from full on tonal and textural onslaught, to expanses of punctuated space, here Berrocal’s band takes the touchstones laid down by peers across the channel in the English scene - Derek Bailey, etc, into far more underrepresented zones, offering a mind blowing and less definable expanse of sound to ears. Catalogue, released in 1979, is a proof of how forward thinking and radical the trumpet player was. A full on blend of pure post-punk angst, taking the territory forged by bands like the Pop Group and Pere Ubu into totally unexpected realms of improved creativity.
1973 + 1976 + 1979, presenting Jac Berrocal’s first remarkable albums in fully remastered form on 200g vinyl, contained within a beautiful box and individual metallic covers and 24 page, deluxe book, this one can’t be missed. An absolute relation from start to finish. It’s hard to express how good this music is. Absolutely essential