Borbetomagus – Trente Belles Anneés


The crucial question is: how can we talk again about Borbetomagus’ angry barrages while avoiding the commonplace? For starters, approximately 18 years ago this reviewer was using the trio’s Zurich as a somewhat sadistic vengeance against his noisy neighbors. Another point of entrance could be the line concerning extreme brutality and ferocious clangor as the nearest thing to quietness. In truth, the feeling here is that individuals whose brains are accustomed to musical involvedness should find no trouble in relaxing when playing this stuff. Jim Sauter and Don Dietrich’s tenor saxophones and Donald Miller’s overdriven arsons and ultra-blues screams on the guitar (Elmore James would be proud of the guy) coalesce, split and reunite continuously, the resulting sonic picture that of a lump-and-gash beaten up mug. Following the trajectories of each voice is an excellent ear-training exercise, provided that concentration stays at 10: compulsive analysts may wish to study the particles of a volcanic emission in detail, but the image at large of flowing lava represents a totality that ultimately transmits a sense of fulfillment.

The same happens with the 46 minutes of this live set, recorded December 19, 2009 at Paris’ Instants Chavirés. Bracketed by a woman shouting “Wow!” at the beginning and a solitary Miller blast after the chaos has calmed down at the end, Trente Belles Anneés is classic Borbetomagus, three autonomous souls in an impressive series of non-stop outbursts. The preferred frequency range is, invariably, that where mediums and highs are melted into pure tinnitus; the muscles might show a few wrinkles, but the punch is still as solid as an Earnie Shavers uppercut. In an interview a long time back the band recalled their tentative approaches towards the now-illustrious prime movers behind the Downtown New York improvising scene, with absolute indifference received in exchange. The (hard) core of the matter seems to reside in a sort of reaction to that coldness: you refuse to consider us, we’ll make your guts bleed. I, for one, love this category of injuries.