Friday, December 02, 2005


Fluvial was the 1983 project of Belgian vocalist Catherine Jauniaux, formerly of Aksak Maboul, The Work and many other art-damged and improv groups. Here she is joined by Tim Hodgkinson (Henry Cow, The Work) and Tom Cora, among many others. The songs on Fluvial drift from organic percussion based compositions to Kurt Weill theatrics, all tied together Jauniaux's amazing voice.

Fluvial - Origine Des Femmes (mp3)

Fluvial has recently been reissued on Ad Hoc recods.


Blogger Scott Soriano said...

This is great stuff, but a question: How come when Americans try art-rock type stuff it comes out as math rock or tedious? Euros seem to have a better handle on this stuff.

2:34 PM  
Blogger Fatty Jubbo said...

I have been thinking about this question all day and all I can come up with are theories that are probably over-generalizations.

I have been trying to think of American art-rock stuff that works for me, that captures the same virtuoso formal inventiveness and emotional range of something like Henry Cow or Art Bears, or even Etron Fou LelouBlan. The only thing American group I can think of is Sleepytime Gorilla Museum...maybe Cheer-Accident.

anyone else have any ideas? could you elaborate, Scott? (I hope I'm opening a can of worms here with you, scott)

4:34 AM  
Anonymous Norton Zenger said...

I don't know, I do think Americans can do a good job at avant-rock weirdness. As well as Sleepytime Gorilla Museum (who are indeed excellent) and related bands (Charming Hostess, Idiot Flesh, Tin Hat Trio, etc.) there's the whole Mike Patton/Mr. Bungle sphere of things (Estradasphere, Eyvind Kang, Secret Chiefs 3), there's Thinking Plague and related bands, Weasel Walter can occasionally get pretty proggy (the Flying Luttenbachers' _Infection and Decline_) and recently I've been getting into a pretty good new avant-prog band called the Red Masque. The stuff on the Cuneiform label has a good smattering of American groups represented on it.

4:31 PM  
Blogger Fatty Jubbo said...

I won't diagree with you Norton, although I would leave all the Mike Patton bullshit at the door. I'm assuming what Scott meant was an avant-rock weirdness that is playful, but still a bit aggressive. Although very harsh, I think the Flying Luttenbachers fit into this description. I always found alot of humor in WW music, even at its most skin-peeling.

Euros seem to bring in a wider range of influences and have a bigger sonic pallette and organically integrate it into a sound rather than being pastichy.

I guess we are splitting hairs here.

5:22 PM  
Blogger Scott Soriano said...

I dont think you are splitting hairs. Personally I cant stand Sleepytime Gorilla Museum or Idiot Flesh. They are better than all the Mike Patton stuff but there is a simular thread that runs through them: Zappa. I think that the Zappa influence is what plagues a lot of American art-rock or art-prog or whatever sub sub sub genre you wanna call it.

Also I would like to make a distinction between art rock and art punk (like deer hoof [which also can get a bit precious] or Chicago now wave) and experimental stuff like Caroliner (which in my book is punk).

It seems like the punk side of art rock comes from Yoko Ono and she is a bit more confrontational in her art sounds than Zappa who borders on downright goofy at time. Plus Zappa was one smug motherfucker and you can hear it in his music. That smugness (or at least the sound of smugness) seems to carry over in his modern day adherents.

7:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really outstanding and one of the best, this combo should have continued to produce gems.

1:02 PM  
Blogger pete said...

Just got here by way of wfmu's blog; nice site.

But thought I would add a bit to this thread- I can think of lots of American art rock that, while different from its European counterpart, is still interesting and not mathy. For instance: Sun City Girls, Harry Partch (okay, mathy at times), Laurie Anderson, Arthur Russell, Karen Finley, Konk, Captain Beefheart, Pere Ubu, some of Sonic Youth's material, you might even include the Pixies based on their lyrics, plus tons and tons of lesser knowns.

But I suppose the fact that so many remain in obscurity within their own culture may support the typical American stereotype of embracing Hollywood, pop, and all things mainstream, and discarding anything more abstract or academic.

11:42 PM  

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