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Alpes & Catherine Ribeiro - No. 2 CD (album) cover

NO. 2

Alpes & Catherine Ribeiro

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.52 | 16 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars As the 60s ceded into the 70s, change was afoot and after an explosion of creativity bursting through the floodgates in 1969, many artist's who had managed to find their own sound were now eking out all the creative potential lurking in every nook and cranny of their imaginations. While much of this was taking place in the English speaking world, other nations were forging their own unique visions of musical liberation and France was certainly not shying away from delivering some of the most original artists of the day. CATHERINE RIBEIRO + 2 BIS released their debut album the same year and had garnered enough interest and intrigue to sally forth and evolve their bizarre psychedelic avant-folk sounds to the next level. As the decade changed so did their name and they dropped the 2 BIS and adopted the new band name CATHERINE RIBEIRO + ALPES which they cited as being an inspiration for aiming high, spreading your winds and flying where no other freaks have flied before.

On their second release with the not so original title NO. 2, RIBEIRO once again joins her musical mentor Patrice Moullet who created his own unique instruments and wrote all the music while RIBEIRO provided all lyrics and vocals. Although they are exclusively in the French language (with the exception of the final track "Ballada Das Aguas" which is in Portuguese), RIBEIRO's emotional wrenching vocal styles nonetheless transcend language barriers and inject their essence directly into the heart. Other than RIBEIRO and Moullet, the band is an entirely new set of characters. On this one Denis Cohen contributes organ and percussion while Portuguese guitar parts are provided by Pires Moliceiro and Robles Monteiro. Moullet outdoes himself again by contributing all classical guitar, organ, vocals and electric lyre. While the instruments are mostly the same, the trumpet has been banished as well as the cosmophone. NO. 2 has a distinctly different sound from album one.

The main difference between NO 2 and album one is the inclusion of lots of Portuguese and classical guitars as heard on the opening "Prélude" but after the short intro the psychedelic folk enters the scene with a jittery organ line and irregular percussive accompaniment with RIBEIRO treating us to her brash vocal bravado as the rhythmic pulse slowly builds. There is virtually no traditional songwriting structures involved and a frenetic rhythmic patterns becomes hypnotic while organs and percussion dance sporadically around the musical palette of rhythmic drive. "15 Août 1970" displays RIBEIRO's sensual side as she delivers a tender vocal performance to a classical guitar accompaniment. "Silen Voy Kathy" is one of the freakier tracks with an incessant electronic lyre going for the emotional jugular while RIBEIRO dishes out more lamenting and lugubrious vocal lines.

The true gem on this wild album comes in the form of the 18 minute and 34 second long "Poème Non Épique" which which is about the painful lament of a young women in the middle of being left by her significant other and as the electronic lyre, rumbling percussion and ominous organs slowly portend the emotional breakdown to come, the track ratchets up the intensity incrementally before being joined by RIBEIRO's vibrantly passionate vocals that offer a the whole gamut of emotions that verge on the insane. As the music churns its no wave type of musical developments, RIBEIRO's vocal antics become more and more intense to the point where she completely breaks down as if we are listening to some bizarre occult ritual that placates the spiritual world supplicating a vengeful outcome. The album ends with a beautiful little Portuguese Fado cover by José Afonso and then it ends leaving you what in the world you just listened to! Although NO 2 doesn't seem as cohesive as the following "Paix" and "Ame Debout" it is certainly an entertaining listen that mixes and melds the avant-folk with the truly lysergic and psychedelic weaving in healthy doses of an early no wave song structure approach and the most unique French chanson techniques ever recorded. NO 2 is simply an excellent sophomore album that the adventurous musical freaks will devour like finger sandwiches at cocktail parties.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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