Following their groundbreaking collaboration with the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Comme à la Radio, Areski and Brigitte Fontaine began recording almost exclusively together as a duo. Originally released in 1973, Je Ne Connais Pas Cet Homme is their first record billed under both names. Deeply rooted in North African and European folk traditions, the album features evocative vignettes with breezy vocals and minimal accompaniment of classical guitar, strings, and woodwinds. As always, there is a mercurial quality to their lyrics. The title track (translated as 'I Do Not Know This Man') suggests at once Apostle Peter's denial and a poetic acknowledgement. On 'C'est Normal' Fontaine playfully questions the status quo while Areski offers satirical answers.
What makes Je Ne Connais Pas Cet Homme one of their best-loved albums, though, is its remarkable sense of intimacy -- as if Areski and Fontaine beckon listeners into their strange and beautiful world. This first-time domestic release continues Superior Viaduct's reissue campaign of Fontaine's classic '70s catalog