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Jacky Chalard

Je Sus Vivant, Mais J'Ai Peur de Gilbert Deflez

(B-Music; US: 16 Aug 2010; UK: 16 Aug 2010)

A Parisian radio storyteller from 1974, Gilbert Deflez, spends most of the 16 tracks on this rereleased album reading—excitedly, intensely—a fantastique French science fiction saga of his own invention about spaceships, a giant talking bird and—apparently—robots. I deduce robots because the people who are helping him out with extra voices sometimes put on metallic accents. Music throbs in the background, proggish space-age rock, straight-faced and playful, with driving mystic keyboards to tell us we’re in the future and musical zoops for the spaceships taking off. The future in this story is only 1999 but I don’t know if Deflez lived long enough to mourn the comparatively commonplace future-that-was. Percussive effects mutter like an engine behind a wall. Jacky Chalard was the music’s co-composer. After Deflez has finished we hear three Chalard songs that have nothing to do with the saga, two Brazilian-style numbers, and a superb swish of hubris called “Super Man—Super Cool” (not the extended version, this one is less than five minutes long). It’s all carried out with the slightly amused remove of Paris Cool.

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