Ya­ma­suki Singers - ‘Le Monde Fab­uleux Des Ya­ma­suki’

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - NEWS - Donal Di­neen

The suc­cess of Daft Punk is at­trib­ut­able not just to their dis­tinc­tive way with beats and vo­cals but to their read­ily iden­ti­fi­able and pre­cise aes­thetic. Their ca­reer has been a les­son in how to com­bine sound with im­age. They do it so well. We have never seen their faces but we have a strong vis­ual sense of who they are. They play the game so as­tutely that they have carved for them­selves a spot where they can en­joy the best of both worlds. Boun­ti­ful fame with hel­mets on and com­plete anonymity with them re­moved. Re­sult.

In Thomas Ban­gal­ter’s case, he didn’t lick it off the stone. In the early 1970s, his fa­ther, un­der the name Daniel Van­garde, de­vised a con­cept for a mu­si­cal project which was strangely pre­dic­tive of his son’s sub­se­quent blue­print for fame. Van­garde had been pur­su­ing a peri­patetic route through pop­u­lar mu­sic in late 1960s France. He skipped be­tween projects and gen­res as writer, ar­ranger and pro­ducer. He was fond of re­leas­ing all kinds of mu­sic and took the highly un­usual step of in­vent­ing dif­fer­ent monikers to fit each sound.

In 1971, with fel­low com­poser Jean Kluger, he created a briefly pop­u­lar dance song called Ya­ma­suki and from the re­ac­tion it gar­nered, de­cided to ex­tend the idea to a full al­bum. The unerring ex­e­cu­tion of the con­cept is a joy in both mu­si­cal and vis­ual terms. There is a beau­ti­ful sym­me­try be­tween the dis­parate el­e­ments. It’s shame­lessly fun but never trite or kitsch. All kinds of in­no­va­tions make the mu­sic en­gag­ing. The so­phis­ti­cated grooves that un­der­pin the hyp­notic chants are ahead of their time. The fat­back drum beats are class. There is so much to en­joy.

The pre­sen­ta­tion is a work of art of its own ac­cord. A se­ries of in­struc­tions on how to do the Ya­ma­suki dance adorn the cover. There’s a beau­ti­ful strange­ness at work. Clearly a highly in­ven­tive streak runs in the Ban­gal­ter blood.

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