Le Quatrieme Mouvement
01. Le roy est mort, vive le roy (7:40)
02. Le Quatrieme Mouvement (5:15)
03. Interlude (1:00)
04. Funk au Chateau (2:55)
05. Theme D'Hiver (3:00)
06. Ballade Courte (9:10)
07. Danse du Paques (5:57)
- Pierrejean Gaucher / guitars
- Eric Bono / piano, keyboards
- Laurent Kzrewina / saxophones
- Alain Mourey / drums
- Pascal Gaillard / bass
- Sylvie VoiseE / vocal
- Caitriona Walsia / vocal
- Dan Ken / vibes
- Arnaud Jarlan / percussion
- Nigel Warren Green / cello
Abus Dangereux is the brainchild of Pierrejean Gaucher, the guitarist of the band. His love for music began at age 10 when he received for his birthday the single Let It Be by The Beatles. It made him continue to explore this music and got Deep Purple and Pink Floyd albums. This lead him to listen to prog - Yes, Genesis, King Crimson and from there he got to know fusion and jazz based prog bands such as Soft Machine, Gong, Magma and Mahavishnu Orchestra. However it would take several more years until he became aware of modern jazz. He also started playing a guitar alone in his room at this time.
At the age of 18 (1977) he started Abus Dangereux. The name was chosen as a reference to a health warning on cigarette packets (the first bassist was a heavy smoker). As he recalls the first album, Le Quatrieme Mouvement, was a band effort in that everyone did their part in composing the tracks. So the heavy fusion and Zeuhl influences are not solely Gaucher's "fault". Looking back or rather listening back, he gives much credit to the keyboardist Eric Bono. However the lineup for the first album was temporary and hired for the studio recording. Only Eric Bono and Laurent Krewina played before with Abus Dangereux. The album itself was recoreded in London at Rockstar studio in December 1979. They had to trim the music from 2 hours to around 40 minutes for the recording.
This album contains, as Gaucher said in an interview, all the music influences he absorbed until then, which explains the trimming down that was needed. He also states this is an immature album, and finds his guitar playing horrible. And still, he is proud of this album. And he should. This thrilling release has exciting fusion based tracks with Zeuhl references which can be heard in the drumming and bass.
Between this first album and the next, Gaucher went for six months to Berklee (Boston) to study music where he discovered modern jazz and it inspired him to start composing more jazz-oriented music. In accordance with this, the next albums were more jazz-rock in nature. In the meantime the band dissolved and the only remaining member was Alain Mourey the drummer.
Abus' instruments included vibes and marimba and in January 1981 Benoit Moerlen joined the group for several shows before the temporary break. However this was to end with the Live album (1985) when the Gaucher shortened the name to Abus (1986) and started using computers and programming in his music.
The shortening of the name was to reflect the new face of the band, the attempt to reach larger audience and the new sound. In 1991 came the last Abus album, Maneges and a south-American tour. Gaucher was tired with the band and continued with his new project New Trio in which he focused more on his guitar playing. I had seen this bands name mentioned on a couple of Zeuhl threads,so i was surprised to see them listed here under Jazz/Fusion.Well after spending some time with this album there is no doubt it belongs in this latter category.Actually on the back of the cd it says "...one of the best French jazz-rock Lp's in recent memory.The approach harkens back to the golden days of ZAO,MAGMA,GONG...A tight rhythm section serves as the backdrop over which guitar,keyboards and female voice dance,counterpointing each other with delicate intertwining.Cerebral,melodic sections alternate with high energy jams effectively.Definite French fusion..."(eurock music magazine-november 1980).And i would say that the two females who sing the vocal melodies bring to mind the Zeuhl genre,although they are very much reserved in their singing,not out front like ESKATON or MAGMA. "Le Roy Est Mort,Vive Le Roy" opens with vocal melodies and liquid sounding keys.The drums join in as things start to accellerate 2 minutes in.I really like the sound after 4 minutes.The mood changes after 6 minutes as it becomes pastoral.Sax comes in late. "Le Quatrieme Mouvement" features high pitched vocal melodies that come and go.The tempo changes a lot.We get some sax and then percussion 2 minutes in before the bass player shows us what he's got.And he's got plenty.Keyboard melodies join in the fun. "Interlude" is a short percussion filled piece. "Funk Au Chateau" is a light jazzy tune with a wonderful display of sax playing.Late in the song we get a beat as vocal melodies come in to end the song. "Theme D'Hiver" might be my favourite on this album.This one is more reserved with cello,bass and light drums.The sound builds 2 minutes in briefly as it becomes brighter with more energy. "Ballade Courte" begins with vocal melodies, and we get a melody a minute in with some great sax as well as a good beat.More sax 3 minutes in as the song starts and stops.Bass,liquid keys and percussion follow.The guitar takes over for 1 1/2 minutes before the vocal melodies return. "Danse Du Paques" has more vocal melodies,sax,keys,drums and bass.The mood and tempo changes.There is a light jazzy passage as well as some good intricate guitar melodies. If you like both Zeuhl and Jazz then this is a must.Check out the very well done biography penned by Avestin to learn more.I must say for my tastes this is barely a 4 star record.It keeps growing on me though, and it's certainly an excellent addition to anyone's Jazz collection.