A host of independent labels sprang up in France during the pivotal period of the 60s and 70s in the course of the cultural and musical revolution then unfolding; labels like the legendary Saravah, BYG, Futura, but also Shandar, a cult label par excellence set up in 1971 by gallery owner Chantal Darcy in collaboration with the journalist Daniel Caux (1945-2008) as artistic director. Just a glimpse at the Shandar catalogue makes one’s head spin, as all of its productions have become key musical references and much-sought-after collector’s items. The quality of the label’s artists is quite exceptional, as this list clearly shows: Albert Ayler, Sun Ra, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Steve Reich, Pandit Pran Nath, Sunny Murray, Dashiell Hedayat, François Tusques, Cecil Taylor, Terry Riley, La Monte Young & Marian Zazeela, Philip Glass, Vincent Le Masne & Bertrand Porquet, Charlemagne Palestine, Ragnar Grippe, Abed Azrié, and Richard Horowitz.
In 1976, Shandar released an album by the Guitares Dérive duo, founded in Paris in1974 by Vincent Le Masne and Bertrand Porquet co-composers and interpreters of their own original music on two classical guitars. It’s a music that is written, structured and highly evocative thanks partly to its somewhat dreamy name, “Guitares Dérive” ! The album, recorded live in the studio, is particularly original. It has a certain affinity with the American minimalist trend (whose artists are to be found on Shandar), yet its register is quite different by virtue of its writing, which avoids all systematisation in the repetition of musical phrases, but on the contrary, constantly evolves. Via its unique style, this fluid and pure sounding music slowly and comfortably bathes its listener in a kind of intoxicating quietude, without lapsing into sentimentality, as the work is underpinned by remarkable technical virtuosity throughout these three lengthy compositions.
For this reissue, the Guitares Dérive duo’s album was remastered by Vincent Le Masne himself along with Alexis Frenkel (Art et Son Studio, Paris). It also contains a previously unreleased bonus track from the same period. This new release is highly recommended to all fans of jazz, repetitive music, avant-garde music, flamenco, classical and contemporary music, but also to all guitar aficionados and especially to admirers of John Fahey, Robbie Basho, Bola Sete, Sandy Bull and Jack Rose.