Aug 31 2015
Recommended: Ghost Rhythms – “Madeleine”
Massively fun and ornately detailed, the large ensemble Ghost Rhythms have created an adaptation of the movie score to Vertigo, but told through the eyes of poor, troubled Madeleine.
Opening track “Another Bridge” announces right from the start that neither the sound nor the spirit of the original Vertigo soundtrack is going to guide the unfolding of Ghost Rhythm’s vision. And why should it, really, as they are choosing to view it through the perspective of a different character, one whose fate is intertwined with that of the John “Scottie” Ferguson, but fated for very different endings. While tethered to same plot, the options for point of view are limitless.
A track like “Another Bridge” does possess some of the drifting ambiance of the original’s rises and falls of tone. However, drawing comparisons between the two is, for the most part, a non-starter. And thankfully so, because Madeline is bursting with personality all its own. The charge and burn of subsequent track “I Did Not” continues the music’s unique trajectory. And “Tree Ashes” is both evidence of the ensemble’s tight crafting of melodies and brisk, dynamic tempos to tell Madeleine’s story.
A few tracks, like “Carlotta Valdes” and “Aleph,” see the ensemble working with sprawling, expansive changes of scenery and emotional tone over the length of a single track, but for the most part, much of this music’s spirit is embodied by the four-part “Apparition,” interspersed throughout the album. These four tracks have a strong presence, each in their own way, from the ethereal “Part 1” to the quirky tunefulness of “Part 4,” but all are rooted in a cinematic ambiance that is all kinds of magnetic. It is more than just setting a mood or tone… these tracks perform a storytelling function via a sonic form of exposition, of world building and creation of a setting that gives context for the interpretive compositions that spring from these loci.
At use are influences of folk music, modern jazz and a slight nod to pop music and ambient minimalism. But the mix of ingredients comes out full-bodied, a singular blend of one music perspective, and the individual characteristics only peek out here and there. The ensemble speaks with one voice and one voice alone.
All of this leads to some stunning moments of beauty. This, however, isn’t an obstacle for the display of a sense of humor and fun on this seriously compelling album. Madeleine is one of the best things to be released in the first half of 2015.
Your album personnel: Guillaume Aventurin (guitar), Sarah Baroux (voice), Maxime Berton (soprano sax, flute, bass clarinet), Julien Bigorgne (flute), Julien Blanchard (contrabass), Sonia Bricout (voice), Alexis Collin (accordion), Xavier Gélard (drums, guitar, voice), Grégory Kosovski (bass), Morgan Lowenstein (percussion), Nadia Mejri-Chappelle (cello), Camille Petit (keyboards, voice), Régis Pons (trumpet), David Rousselet (tenor sax), Maxime Thiébaut (soprano, alto & baritone saxes) and Virginie Boulignat (violin).
Listen to more of the album on the artist’s Bandcamp page.
This album is Self-Produced.
Jazz from the Paris, France scene.
Available at: Bandcamp | eMusic | Amazon
September 3, 2015 @ 5:49 pm
This is really an incredible album I haven’t yet seen reviewed elsewhere. It’s amazing rhythmic non-stop pulse just glues you to every note. The only problem I have with this recording is that with two album’s worth of music it feels a little too long and a bit exhausting. What I did is cut out some of the lesser compelling tunes and emerged with a 71 minuted edited version where the intensity never stops. Love playing this in the car. Cheers, RM
September 3, 2015 @ 10:42 pm
One of the qualities of Madeleine that most appeals to me personally is that, even though most album tracks are up-tempo, I’m able to really sit back after a long day and just sort of melt into my chair and decompress, and this music fits in perfectly with that kind of tranquil moment.
And you’re right… it is a very long recording. It’s usually around the 2/3rds mark that I feel like I’ve had a full, satisfying listen. I’m with you on creating a “curated version” of an album. I haven’t done that with Madeleine, but I’ve done similar with other recordings. Most recently, Brad Mehldau’s “Highway Rider.”
I’m thinking now that I’ve highlighted this album a few times, other sites will begin checking the album out, and we should start seeing more print for it around the internet. I’ve seen that pattern emerge over the years, where a pretty unknown recording gets some press here or on one of my eMusic/Wondering Sound columns, and then the other reviews start popping up. It’s cool seeing that effect, and keeps me dedicated to finding more under-the-radar music.
September 4, 2015 @ 1:02 am
Here my personal Madeline playlist
I did Not
I think it’s inevitable this will get better known. Sometimes I check out a band’s facebook page and they’ve featured your review, so the bands are certainly appreciative! In fact, Ghost Rhythms posted your review on Tuesday: https://www.facebook.com/GhostRhythms?fref=ts
August 29, 2019 @ 6:07 am
We have a new album coming on Cuneiform Records on October 4th, check out the free track !
Best ! Xavier (drums)