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**The long awaited repress of this much anticipated long lost Gainsbourg/Vannier Holy Grail is back** This history of music is filled with legends - what was, what might have been, and all that which was lost. Among these narratives is Jean-Claude Vannier and Serge Gainsbourg’s soundtrack for André Cayatte’s drug fueled 1969 film Les Chemins De Katmandou. Since being recorded, this sonic marvel has been steeped in mystique. For more than forty years it was thought lost - the missing link Gainsbourg and Vannier’s incredible discography, never released, with the masters believed to have perished in a studio fire. In 2015, the story took another turn when Vannier unexpectedly discovered the lost masters in a suitcase owned by his friend Daniel Marechal, following the later’s death. Initially released a few months later as a digital download, in 2017 Finders Keepers thrilled the world with the first ever vinyl release of this great holy grail. The first pressing sold out in the blind of an eye, so needless say we were overjoyed to hear the news about a repress, the disc which sits before us now.
Not unlike their lost masterpiece, the creative partnership of Jean-Claude Vannier and Serge Gainsbourg is the stuff of legend - beginning briefly on Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin’s legendary self titled debut in 1969, before passing into the mid 70’s, leaving it’s mark on Gainsbourg’s unmatchable Histoire De Melody Nelson as well as soundtracks for the films La Horse (1970), Cannabis (1970), and Sex Shop (1972). Les Chemins De Katmandou, recorded in the first year of this partnership, stands among the greatest of their efforts - so much so, that it seems unthinkable that it was allowed to be misplaced. It is a near perfect image of the era, marked by stunning musical direction and psychedelic pop mastery - utopian idealism, beginning to fall under the clouds.
Standing apart from a great many soundtracks, the music composed for Les Chemins De Katmandou feels as though it was conceived as a total work - one of the great thematic concept albums of the 60’s that was never heard. Performed by a stunning team of Paris based musicians now recognized as French library music royalty, it possesses all the incredible production value that make the 60’s so intoxicating, while being defined by Vannier's signature recipe of thick plucked bass lines, close-mic'd drums, biting clavinet, and Eastern influenced strings and percussion, not to mention a sprinkling of subtle traditional French instrumentation. Beautiful, funky as hell, and filled syrupy thick grooves, is an unquestionable masterpiece which makes you wonder how pop music went so wrong when it had it this good.
Filled with the startling energy which made Vannier and Gainsbourg collaborations so legendary, Les Chemins De Katmandou is one that shouldn’t be missed. Given how fast the first pressing sold out, we don’t recommend sleeping on this one. Absolutely essential on every count. The LP contains the entirety of the music found on the newly discovered studio tapes, preserved through the "baking" process, re-emulsified, transferred, remastered, and recompiled and sequenced in accordance with the original screenplay in close collaboration with Finders Keepers and inaugural artist, Jean-Claude Vannier. So good it hurts!