Sunday, July 17, 2005

cult of the week - Bernard Szajner

artist: Bernard Szajner

title: Brute Reason

year: 1983

label: Island Records

personnel: Bernard Szajner (electronics, vocals), Howard Devoto (vocals), Michael Suchorsky (drums), Bernard Paganotti (bass), Chris Humbey (cello), Xavier Geronimi (guitar), Pierre Chereze (guitar), Joji Hirota (vocals and percussion), Kirt Rust (drums), Philippe Maujardo (bass), Schroeder (saxophone)

tracklisting: without leaving, snowprints, brute reason, Saracen cards, crash diet, deal of the century, domestic casualty, the convention, the snark

cotw say…

this much-revered Frenchman saw his electronic musical creation, the ‘laserharp’, stolen by compatriot Jean Michel Jarre and applied in much less appealing musical circumstances. and although ‘Brute Reason’ is not the most popular of Bernard Szajner’s albums, it remains perhaps the most interesting, if purely for a rare guest slot by the legendary Howard Devoto.

dramatic chord changes, with occasionally shrill melodies designed to create suspense, give Szajner’s albums a certain grandiose, cinematic quality. here, Devoto’s scowl gives the tense, cool electronics of the excellent ‘Without Leaving’ and slower ‘Deal of the Century’ an extra edge, although he is frustratingly low in the mix. throughout, the use of acoustic instruments to complement the electronics, take the album off in different directions, not all of which are welcome (the guitar veers dangerously towards progrock at times and the slapbass only serves to anchor the album in 1983). still, Szajner’s deft use of polyrhythms on more understated tracks like ‘The Convention’, marks them out as being most worthy of repeated spins.

more than enough (brute) reasons here to warrant further investigation.

Erik -

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