JAC BERROCAL, DAVID FENECH, VINCENT EPPLAY Transcodex
Jac Berrocal is a 1946-born musician (trumpet player), poet and sometime film actor who came of age in the ‘70s Paris improv scene, where the boundaries between music, art and theatre were porous and begging to be breached. Inspired by bebop, chanson, free jazz, beat poetry, early rock ‘n roll and myriad Eastern influences, and with an iconoclastic, anything-goes approach to instrumentation and technique that would later align him with post-punk sensibilities, Berrocal blazed an eccentric and unstoppable trail across the underground throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s, both solo and as part of the Catalogue group he co-founded. During this time his uproarious performances routinely wound up jazz and rock audiences alike, but earned the admiration of many musicians: Steven Stapleton invited him to perform on two Nurse With Wound albums, and other notable collaborators in his career include Sunny Murray, Lizzy Mercier-Descloux, Lol Coxhill, Yvette Horner and James Chance. In the 90s his protean achievements were celebrated on the Fatal Encounters compilation, but far from slowing down in the autumn of his life, Berrocal has maintained an extraordinary work-rate, keeping studio dates with Pascal Comelade, Telectu and Jaki Liebezeit, among others. Now Berrocal has found the perfect foil in David Fenech and Vincent Epplay, two fearlessly inventive improvisers, composers and catalysts who create challenging, acutely modernist yet historically aware settings – wrought out of synthesis, guitars, computer processing, field recordings and unorthodox percussions – for Berrocal’s unmistakeable voice and breathtakingly lyrical horn sound to flourish. Fenech cut his teeth in the mail-art scene of the early ‘90s, leading the Peu Importe collective in Grenoble. His 2000 solo debut was recently reissued by Felix Kubin’s Gagarin label, and he has also worked as a software developer at IRCAM, and played with Jad Fair, Tom Cora, Rhys Chatham and James Plotkin; in 2011 he formed a trio with Berrocal and Ghedalia Tazartes for the Superdisque LP. Epplay is a highly regarded sonic and visual artist with a particular interest in aleatory composition and autonomous pieces, concrète, and the puckish reappropriation of vintage sound and film material, with dozens of published works to his name on labels like Alga Marghen and PPT/Stembogen. Transcodex is the fourth album by the trio. Turning more towards pop than in their beginnings, this fourth record follows the footsteps of their previous album, Exterior Lux. The trio seems limitless: they experiment with a large variety of styles (pop, dub, electronica, dark jazz), always coloured by their very own touch. For this album, they invited two amazing musicians. Jah Wobble, founding member of the mighty Public Image Ltd. and Jean-Hervé Peron, one of the fathers of German krautrock legend Faust. Full tracklist: 1. Catafalque 2. Javanese Sea Fleur 3. Ghost Song 4. Chapelle Ganache 5. Noir Est La Suit Sur Montparnasse 6. Transcodex 7. Ives 8. Das Leben 9 Nuristan Est 10. Dactylo Horns 11. Les Filles. Price: € 18,-/copy incl. worldwide shipping.
Considering that most tracks are three to four minutes, you know that we are dealing with more song-like structures. Voices are from Berrocal but just as easily lifted from a radio. The guitar plays lovely little motifs, and when Berrocal plays the trumpet, it is something far away, perhaps the one element of improvisation that still remains. (...) The songs are spikey and alive, bursting with youthful energy. Pop-like, jazz-like (hard to avoid with how the trumpet is played here), dubby and, at times, wonderfully introspective.
(Vital Weekly, December 2022)
Poetry, concrète edits and a sparse dubby rhythm section guide the listener through the trios latest album. In Javanese Sea Fleur Berrocals trumpet is submerged in slowly decaying reverb, whilst Jah Wobble explores the low end of the sound spectrum, creating grooves resembling Cabaret Voltaires Kirlian Photograph, but with less of the rhythmic vocal work.
(The Attic Magazine, December 2022)
The whole album is a fairly very loose / largely laid-back affair-though its often a surreally-tinged ride. (...) Transcodex rather brought to mind a slightly more jazzed out, and lullingly abstract take on the type of thing Edward Ka-Spel has been doing over the last decade or so. If that’s your bag youll very much enjoy whats occurring here.
(Musique Machine, May 2023)