Aurora Rising present the first vinyl reissue of L’Occident Est Bleu/L’An Cinquante-Six, originally released in 1958. Pierre Henry is most popular among rock fans for his collaboration with the English band Spooky Tooth in 1969 but he already had a great reputation as a composer and performer in the field of modern classics, musique concrète and pioneering electronic avant-garde.
L’Occident Est Bleu/L’An Cinquante-Six features sound contributions by Pierre Henry, and spoken word performances by popular French actors Michel Vitold and Silvia Montfort based on two texts by fellow actor and singer Claude Pascal. It can be seen as an audio book rather than a regular music record backed with sounds. All the texts are performed in French and they focus on dark themes. The musical part of this album is also quite intense with a haunting atmosphere, droning and disturbing at times. The drone and musique concrète aspects show the roots of what should become cosmic music in the late ’60s and early ’70s performed mostly by artists such as Tangerine Dream. And indeed there are a few moments here that remind me of the classic Zeit (1972) by Edgar Froese and his mates. A sound experiment, a twisted and creepy manifestation of weird thoughts in something that is loosely connected to music. A challenge for sure, but if you love the obscure and have a heart for avant garde music you are welcome to this first ever reissue of a long time vanished record. Includes two bonus tracks.