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Stabat Akish – Nebulos

June 23, 2012

Stabat Akish is a Sextett from the south of France, more precisely Toulouse. After their 2009’s self-titled debut, which was acclaimed by the well known FreeJazz Mastermind John Zorn and subsequently released on his label, Tzadik records, they started to record their follow-up record “Nebulos” in 2010.

It was only released this year since John Zorn refused to put it out on Tzadik so the band decided to press it on vinyl by themselves and when bumping into their friend Manu Mure, the contact to AltrOck, who released “Nebulos” on CD this May, was quickly established.

The band’s line-up is somewhat unconventional, at least for a rock band, and in some sense dictates the direction the music heads to. It consists of 2 wind instrument, a piano-and-related position, played by Remi Leclerc (NOT to be confused with Miriodor’s Remi Leclerc), Percussions including Vibraphones, Marimba and other sorts, of course a Drummer and last but not least a double bass played by Maxime Delporte, who also wrote and arranged all the music.

So let’s see what we can expect from this line up. As mentioned before, together with the fact that they released on Tzadik before, it strongly suggests a jazz-oriented record. And this is partly what we get – but by far not all and not easy to pigeonhole. Instead, the record features an intriguing mix of Jazz, Avantgarde, Rock In Opposition and some more over which they never forget about humor.

Welcomed by what is potentially the most representative Song on the record, “Nebulos” starts with a hectic Art Zoydish piano, changes to Jazz enriched with various effects and John Zorn saxes and ends with fanfare-like wind instrument actions. The second song ranges from “vibraphone jazz” over a  70s key-intrument jazz rock to minimal jazz, wind instruments which partly sound like violins and bass saxophone, which provides an admittedly far-fetched Alamaailman Vasarat comparison.

The “Sprouts” suite again comes up with the above mentioned ingredients ranging from, say, standart jazz over eccentric jazz rock to psychodelic sounds, adding Zappaesk humor in the form of spoken words, which should be intenisified in the following “Troide” by the voice of Sarah Roussel, who on an imaginary telefone call reports in different languages of problems with her sprouts over a monotone, repetitive rhythm section.

“Soft Fates” comes up with Big Band sounds supported by guest musicians on trombone and trumpet, “Boletus Edulis” provides an arabic  flute part and psychodelic water hums and birds’ twitter, whereas “Dynamique Cassoulet” ends with an out-of-tune Frank Sinatra.

So all in all, vital changes in dynamics from soft, calm easy listening jazz to heavy, frantic passages and back, containing Zappaesk spoken words and references to the Belgian- and French RIO bands like Univers Zero and Present turn the record an interesting piece of music, surely one to listen to by Jazz-, JazzRock-, Rock In Opposition- and all other Avantgarde-Fans. Amusing and Interesting!

Download or buy/order the record on the band’s bandcamp site, on the bands homepage or on AltrOck’s label page

Eduard Tetzlaff

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