There’s about a month to go until the release of Musique Fragile Volume 02, and over the next few weeks we’ll be revealing more details about each of the three albums comprising the box set, including artwork, release notes, and more music.
Last week we unveiled Kanada 70’s Vamp Ire, and this morning we present Pacha’s Affaires Étrangères, the second LP in the set, and our friends at Exclaim! have premiered “L’Aeroport de Charlo,” the stunning album opener, as an MP3. The track lays a heavy synth groove over gritty, kinetic percussion, and acts as a kind of mission statement, interpreting motifs from classic Arabic pop with a nervy punk energy. Says Exclaim!: “The track comes complete with wailing organ tones, which eventually take on a very Eastern vibe, as well as some complex and seriously messed-up drum work. It’s a heady number, for sure.”
Go to the release page for the full run-down on the album, and click below to listen to “L’Aeroport de Charlo”:
MP3: “L’Aeroport de Charlo” (via Exclaim!)
Pacha is the solo work of percussionist Pierre-Guy Blanchard, who recorded this album at home with engineer Radwan Moumneh in 2009 and subsequently self-released it in a tiny run of CD-Rs. Affaires Étrangères features intensely satisfying rhythm-heavy instrumentals often propelled by fried, amped-up Middle-Eastern synth lines and sprinkled with guitar, bass and oud along with the odd looped field recording. Think early Trans Am if they had come out of Cairo or Beirut, or Oneida in their motorik mode and with an Arabic pop fixation.
Blanchard received a BA in music in 2003, majoring in percussion performance, and then escaped the ‘new music’ trajectory by traveling extensively and immersing himself in Middle Eastern and Balkan traditions, studying under various masters and playing with a wide range of regional groups. During his periods back in Canada he performed in countless ensembles and first came to Constellation’s attention when he was recruited as guest percussionist for Black Ox Orkestar and ultimately appeared on that group’s Nisht Azoy album, about which Tiny Mix Tapes wrote “Blanchard’s freeform jazz-indebted playing opens the album up to even more adventurous terrain…the second leg plays like a Balkan Henry Cow”. Pierre-Guy has also performed regularly with Sam Shalabi’s jazz/psych/arabic orchestra Land Of Kush. Constellation re-sequenced and remastered the Affaires Étrangères CD-R for vinyl and is proud to be giving this album a more substantial life. It marks Blanchard’ first attempt at a definitive musical statement of his own and we think it succeeds wildly.
Affaires Étrangères will be available as of June 26 on digital formats, and on heavyweight vinyl as part of the Musique Fragile Volume 02 box set, which also features albums from Kanada 70 and Hangedup & Tony Conrad. Check the Musique Fragile release page for more info, including pre-order links, and stay tuned for info on those albums in the coming weeks. If you haven’t yet, check below to hear the mixtape we put together for the set, featuring music from all three artists: