There is a thread of guttural insanity that rises now and again in French creative music, whether from classic groups like Ange, Etron Fou Leloublan, the crazier vocals of Magma, or modern outfits such as PoiL and its many offshoots. Regardless, Edredon Sensible should be added to this rough category mainly due to their unconventional musicality.
Vloute Panthère is the debut from this quartet having the unusual lineup of dual percussionists and dual saxophonists. They create elaborate patterns that repeat at length, over which one or both saxes solo. And the solos vary from being controlled to approaching blowout status. But this is far from free jazz – indeed, in some ways it is quite the opposite with its trancelike, driving patterns. To that point, the drummers lay down polyrhythms, while the baritone sax provides rich harmonies as an offset to the tenor’s more open-ended wailing. Even when the group slows things down and approaches a with a quieter, gentler tone, these properties hold.
As a result, it is easy to get caught up in the pulsating joy of Vloute Panthère. This is an unexpectedly fun effort that straddles a number of styles while never being firmly planted in any. Strong recommendation.