Wires ripped out of Zappa’s head. Dripping faucets filled with undrinkable minerals, wet with whispered ritual, rhythms fuelled with diesel, atmospheres padded with contemplative tension. I dream awake. Right from the beginning, in 1984, The Grief screwed everyone because they only made the music they wanted. No compromise.
‘Huis Clos’ - ‘Behind Closed Doors’. Hawaiian guitars on Quaaludes, horns in dead end alleys. Jazz boiled in manic sweat. The Grief could have been the milky titty of the Herbalizer’s youth, or Senor Coconut’s hot brass teething ring. As I write this, I’m listening to their new ‘Greatest Hits’ compilation.
I ask myself, did The Grief really ever really have a top 100 hit ? I don’t think so, this is just more of their black humour seeping through. But listening to them I realise that they helped pave they way, along with the likes of Fœtus, the Residents, Hüsker Dü and others to create a dense and gaseous universe, both reminiscent and brutal, experimental and danceable, from some remote corner of France during the early era of industrial and electronic music. Now the horns breathe back onto themselves and a trombone blows bubbles into a thickening – ‘sweet and sour’ – drummed sauce. This track, ‘Lemon Bop’, should be listened to everyday at breakfast, just to stimulate the spirit and give us faith. The track brings me back to life while dragging me through a graveyard of nostalgic big brass sound.
Then old school hip-hop surfaces and the track suddenly seems ripe enough, ready to be plucked and remixed by the likes of TTC or the Anti-Pop Consortium. It’s amazing how the Grief seem to have done it all, covered so much territory before so many others. They created a catalogue of music that feels like it was culled from a hundred radios across modern Europe. Laibach learnt a lesson from military build up, The Grief took it and made it groove.
They used electronics, plus their bodies and souls, to transport us to an unknown place with an echoing thump. A room dark as a cave and filled with black light. A room deep as a cave and flooded with water and floating microphones. Were you there in the mid 80’s when these Frenchmen merged post psychedelics with dirges, digitalia with howling screams, puked up funk with fine punk ? On the cover of one album we see them black-faced like ‘jazz niggers’ at the turn of the century. Catapulting themselves backwards in time to take the post-punk movement from behind.
And the bass lines. The excellent studio production. The scraping Steroid Maximus sound, the depth and patience of Steve Reich taken all the way to a house filled with Coil and gin songs. Shake that booty till your mind accepts all sound, till you fall on the ground and holler at the sky, the ceiling, the amps.
Music made in France by the Anti-IRCAM. They ‘Plane For Moi’, using abrasive, obscure and modern tactics. The next track on CD 1 could make you raise your hands in the air because the loop is so fucking addictive and the woman’s voice just makes your hands slide over your own body like it was covered in cream. But the temperature suddenly changes and the funky booty is replaced with frigid film samples – way before this sort of thing was à la mode. Cut it ! Chop It. Stab it ! The Grief were original.
Very. They were instinctive and demanding. They made piss-take commentary of pop hits. I burst out in laughter as I finally pin-point the title of their weird cover version of ‘I Was Made For Loving You’.
They rip it apart with mocking delight. I was meant to love the Grief. They infiltrated my ears with anger, thought, wild joy, dance, dolmens, droned sleep. They can start with the disco beat of Patrick Juvet and turn it around and rock it back down to the thumping ground - CAN style ! They knew what a concert should be.
A party. A catharsis. An all encompassing community ball. A happening.
Forget yourself, dance in front of the woofers, fall, kiss the floor, lift yourself up and swing back out into the throng and grab the woman you fancy. Tell her you know the best rock - electro – post funk group in France and that they no longer exist. Tell her she can hear them back at your place. Tell her that listening to The Grief is like looking at the stars at night after running 5 miles through a forest at night.
Tell her that only a light year separates you from a fresh starting point. Turn it up. Don’t grovel. I’m now listening to an orchestra burning holes through the heavy magnets of my suspended speakers. Film noir, chords in minor bowed with timber, bursts of concrete noise, sparks of feedback, dervish drums, heavenly hums. But who were The Grief ? The internet doesn’t offer any clear answers to this question.
I go to my record collection. I pull out a vinyl box set. The graphic punch of the artwork on the cover of ‘Huis Clos’ doesn’t tell me much more. I open the box.
I look at the title tracks in bold print on the record sleeves. ‘Bloodthirsty Bessie’ — ‘Après Coup’, the large text mingles and blurs with smaller words on a blue and white background that looks like it was designed by Jackson Pollock. I pull out a magnifying glass to help my retina separate the text from the background traffic. I find —‘Maud for Cello’… I see — ‘Engineered by Fabrice Lazare and The Grief’… Then, inside the loupe, I spot it! –— ‘The Grief = JLM – JPG - JYD’ That’s it ? I go to my Danceteria CD release of ‘Fycazz on Bananas’ — on the back it says : Produced by Norscq. The four pages of liner notes are simply signed - ‘J.Y.D.’.
I love the mystery, the anonymity and their humility. I find another phrase — ‘Nourritures Terrestres’ - ‘Earthly Nourishments’. The music speaks for itself. Their sound is a boot kicked out through dozens of ingenious ideas.
Who’s singing ? Who’s on the drums ? The sampler ? The guitars or the trumpet ? This all seems unimportant at this moment. Only the sound counts. Eight years in the studio, on strange recording sites, in caverns, playing live or working with Ken Thomas are now grouped in this digital location. Regretfully, I never had the chance to see The Grief live.
One of my friend’s told me that they blew him away years ago at the Elysée Montmartre when they opened for Blaine Reininger. I wish I had been there to see them jump and crawl and howl and blow and bury the night in ashes. Industrialise your mind, jive and groan, salvage Moroccan rhythms and breathe hell back into the microphone with spit and sand. Experiment with instruments you’ve never touched before. Use the instruments you know with a hammer or a pitchfork.
Find the centre of your being and shout it back out to the crowd. This is how I imagine The Grief. Roaring, wild, intelligent men burning their hearts on bourbon and experimenting with dynamite. Working like speliologues to discover fresh possibilities to create a future for music.
Moving like archaeologists in tanks ready to destroy the status quo. Compressing anything around them with a grinding crunch. Storm the Studio. Flood it with noise. Empty it with silence. Thanks to Pierre Belouin at Optical Sound and Norscq’s invariable energies we can now hear The Grief in this completely re-mastered double digi-pack.
Two hours, twenty minutes, and eight seconds worth, including remixes by aka_bondage, Colder and Norscq, plus some vinyl and previously unreleased recordings. This compilation is a breath of fresh air in a mouldy formatted world. A convincing reminder to young musicians and listeners that freedom and an open mind are necessary to make lasting, creative and meaningful music. Not copy-cat music. No Neck Monsters ! The Grief did this. Black Sifichi 10/10/2005 -------------------------------------------------------------- _°--_°_--_°--_°_--_°--_°_--_°--_°_-_ Black Sifichi's : 'Audiometric' is broadcast on : 'Aligre FM' - 93.1 Paris (samedi 22:30 - 7 heure) http://www.aligrefm.org 'Eko Des Garrigues' - 88.5 FM - Montpellier (lundi 19h - 22h) http://www.ekodesgarrigues.com 'RTF' - 95.4 FM - Limoges (merdreci 21h-23h) http://www.rtflimoges.com website : http://www.blacksifichi.com promotional materiel - please address as below. Dr. Sifichi Laboratoire d'Analyses / ETR 14 Rue des Epernons 93100 Montreuil France Tel : 33 (0)1 48 51 00 90 mail : firstname.lastname@example.org Jury member 2005 - Qwartz Electronic Music Awards : Faites découvrir vos oeuvres à des centaines de milliers de personnes et participez à la constitution d'un patrimoine mondial des musiques électroniques. http://www.qwartz.org ___________________________________________________ --------------------------------------------------------- ________________________________________ -------------------------------------------- _____________________________ ------------------------------ ____________________ -------------------- ____________ ----------- _____ --- - 2) (from the MySpace) The Grief, a sufferinf exaltation, is a Doom Black Symphonic Metal ecuadorian band formed by the members of the disappeared band Kybalion-Ecuador. Besides five years of absence of his guitar player (X-ar), their musical activity never stopped. Endless substitutes and the integration of new members, helped keeping alive their borning style. After some concerts offered in some cities in Ecuador promoting their records (“Historia de un iniciado” ,1997 y “Epígrafes”, 2001), they were considered “The Best National Doom Black Metal Band”, thanks to the support given by radio spaces Clave de Fa with Alfonso Freire, and Historias del Lado Oculto with Diego Suárez. After touring with Orquideas Negras and Retaque, Kybalion records their last demo (Shall Become, 2002).
Finally (Q-sao) on the vocals decides to leave the band (2005). The Grief was born on middle 2005, when Sohamel on the bass guitar, X-ri on the drums and X-ar on the guitar consolidate a decade working together. On september 2006 after an intense creative process, Galeas on the vocals joins the band, who, with a particular style, fits perfectly in The Grief. At the end of the year 2006, begins the recording process of their demo CD named “The Realm Of the Grief”, with wich the promotion of The Grief starts. Read more on Last.fm.
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