Review: Earlier this month, Dharma's inspired and hard to find debut album, Mrs Robinson, was given the reissue treatment. It seems that was merely an appetizer for the re-release of Archipel, a 1973 set that was initially released in such limited quantities (around 100, according to some online sources) that some consider it one of the "holy grail" records of European free-jazz. Unlike the surprisingly structured and orthodox Mrs Robinson, Archipel is a thrillingly wild set that combines mind-altering improvisations with curiously experimental and off-kilter cuts that look beyond the confines of jazz for inspiration. Such is the densely layered and out-of-this-world feel of some of the tracks, in fact, that repeat listening is recommended.
Review: In 1972, saxophonist Philippe Mate joined forces with renowned studio engineer Daniel Vallancien to record a collaborative album that pushed the boundaries of what jazz could be. With Vallancien using his mixing desk as an instrument - alongside early electronic instrumentation and a range of effects units - and Mate playing improvised, free-jazz style motifs, the pair conjured a set that was years ahead of its time. The eponymous set has been near impossible to get hold of for years, hence this reissue on SouffleContinu. There's much to admire throughout, from the droning, apocalyptic textures and scattergun sax solos of "Cambodge 70" and new age pulse of "Bateke Bojo", to the intergalactic weirdness of "Cyclothimie" and melodious, Steve Reich style minimalism of "Sanza Sallee".