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7 January 2013

Le Drapeau Noir (Chironex)

The new wave of free British music is here! I gravitated around these circles for a few years so I saw a lot of interesting stuff happening in the UK, which was music being made by young, dedicated musicians with strong roots in the free/jazz antecedents of the 60s and 70s, a strong influence of punk/hardcore/indie, and a willingness to tie up all these strands into something strong and personal. Chora, from Sheffield, are leaders among that and this one-off project, Le Drapeau Noir, features some of them (I think) and maybe some people from the Hunter Gracchus (also from Sheffield) and most certainly Pascal Nichols from Part Wild Horses Mane on Both Sides, as his drumming style is inimitable. The label says it's all three bands together, which if you think about it, should be a cacophonous mess - but instead we get a cacophonous bucket of beauty. This above-mentioned druming style anchors the three jams on this self-titled LP, allowing harmonium, flute, and what sounds even like a tamboura to weave in and out of the order/chaos edge. While made only a few years ago, it dowses into the more floral currents of 1960's jazz, yet updates it with a communicative sense of collective joy. By the end, the explorations are tonal, as a thick blanket of drones comes together with each member confident, listening, yet free. It's a remarkable coming together of minds, perhaps meant only as a one-off thing, but thankfully having made this document. Which is great, because these things are lovely to listen to!

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