Dharma: Archipel LP
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Souffle Continu Records present the first ever reissue of Dharma's Archipel, originally released in 1973. "Do your own music!" was Albert Ayler's advice, received loud and clear in France. Cohelmec Ensemble, Workshop de Lyon, and the Dharma Quintet, three groups close in spirit, which would each illustrate, in their own way, a local principle: to get some distance from American free jazz. As far as Dharma is concerned, the community-based approach was put in place to escape from any academism. This may draw comparisons with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, but they were also influenced by Gong. The events of May '68 were fresh, and protest was still in the air: no leadership structure was possible, and personnel could change with each recording (on Archipel, a new drummer makes an appearance; however, there is no recorded trace of the group with Jean Querlier and François Méchali). Like its predecessor End Starting (FFL 040LP), Archipel is a constructed album, mixing free rock and European free jazz in a series of collective explosions based on abrupt and contrasting improvisations. For much of the time, piano, guitar, and saxophone intertwine over intense rhythms, with everything and anything being electrified. Retrospectively, such remarkable timbral combinations, evoking sometimes the freer passages of Cinemascope by Joachim Kühnwith Toto Blanke (1974), make the demise of Dharma in 1974, even more regrettable. Their modernity has nothing to envy of the later advances of Paul Bley with guitar (Pat Metheny, John Scofield), or of OM on 1977's Rautionaha, Patricio Villarroel's electric piano adding a nonetheless surprisingly singular touch to Dharma. This is without mentioning a kind of incisive violence when things sped up, which was unique to the Dharma Quintet, or a sound as dense as that of On The Corner by Miles Davis (1972), or Stark Reality, John Abercrombie's group from around the same period. Who else could seem approximately close to the Dharma Quintet at the same time... Emergency, a quintet which had played and recorded in France. Masabumi Kikuchi in Japan also deserves a mention. Along with the Cohelmec Ensemble, the Workshop de Lyon, the Full Moon Ensemble, Perception, Armonicord, or the Michel Portal Unit, the Dharma Quintet stand out as one of the most important examples of free jazz as it was played in France at the beginning of the 1970s. Licensed from Dharma. Obi strip; 12-page booklet; Edition of 700.