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Lard Free

May 17, 2010 by garry

No, you vegetarian fairies (of which I am one), we're not talking about healthy Mexican food here. The Lard Free in question was the name of an early '70s French experimental prog band that was almost as active as Richard Simmons. Led by drummer Gilbert Artman, they recorded three whole albums for your listening enjoyment. The first one from 1973, which was self-titled, pretty much rules the roost. "Warinobaril" kicks it off with a simple, repetitive, loping bass / drums rhythm section pleasantly overlayed with a handful of single, drawn-out sax notes that eventually get clobbered by a completely unexpected, dissonant, distorted electric guitar that stirs quite a spicy flavor into this sonic soup. The sax follows suit as it squeals and wails away like there's no tonight. In "12 ou 13 Juillet Que Je Sais D'Elle," a quietly bouncing synth and bass riff supports the sax and guitar again as they get all squiggly.

"Honfleur Ecarlate" offers up a similar minimal bass and drum beat for a mellow sax jam and a keening, distorted guitar that belts out a series of muted fuzz noodles. "Acuide Framboise" pits some synth drones with more metallic psych noodling, while "Livarot Respiration" creates an incredbly mellow, quiet atmosphere via vibes, sax and bass. "Culturez-Vous Vous-Memes" seals the whole deal with more quiet synth drones mixed with some dark, sparse piano tinkle. Taken as a whole, this album can easily be enjoyed by any serious krauthead. On the second album, I'm Around About Midnight (1975), Tangerine Dream-like electronic atmospheres abound, while the third, Spirale Melax (1978), completely abandons the jazz rock groove so prevalant in the first album to delve into even darker areas of billowing abstraction. Unnamed (2008) is a vault-clearing disc full of music originally recorded before the first album, featuring the kind of free jazz-inspired improvised music that Mr. Artman enjoyed playing in the late 1960s.

Timeframe: Post-Altamont.

Public Impact: Unknown to the general public, Lard Free's music appeals more to fans of jazz, improv, electronic and krautrock. Within these circles, it has grown quite a sizable fanbase, in which it remains admired and respected to this day.

More: Amazon, Forced Exposure, Gnosis 2000, Last.FM





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