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(FMP CD 72)
This all-star meeting of Hans Reichel, Rüdiger Carl, and Paul Lovens with vocalist Shelley Hirsch is surely one of the craziest albums in the FMP catalog. Hirsch switches between unfurling stories and speaking in tongues, while her collaborators create swirling sonic landscapes that enhance the unhinged theatrics. A one-of-a-kind experience - both disturbing and delightful.
"The September Band, recorded in France in April of 1993, were Hans Reichel on guitars and daxophone, Shelley Hirsch on vocals, Rüdiger Carl on accordion, and Paul Lovens on percussions. What transpired on that evening was a collaboration of outrageous proportion. From the very beginning of the show, with Hirsch and Reichel groaning and moaning toward one another before Lovens enters to provide a lyrical backdrop to Hirsch, telling the first part of "That Little Door." Like Diamanda Galas quoting Baudelaire, Hirsch spits out the narrative in geographical dialects as Reichel fills it with dreadful emotion and Lovens lightens up the entire proceeding with simple glissandos that change color and texture as Hirsch shifts from one persona to another seamlessly — from a German beerhall maid to Edith Piaf to a Southern washerwoman in less than 15 seconds!
"While Lovens brightens the picture, Reichel's daxophone darkens it considerably, creating an often-horrifying emotional framework for Hirsch to work against. Carl doesn't enter until the second section, and his deep register displaces Reichel's dax. Hirsch is the force of movement, however, carrying all the musicians in her whirlwind of heartbreak, pathos, and blues-o-logical hysterics. This music and its apparent insanity isn't for everyone, from the deep psychotic skeins of Carl's accordion, to the bowed-out phrases of Reichel's guitars and fractured percussives from the singing daxophone, to Lovens' sober tonal groundings, all of them accompanying a woman on a mission to who knows where with a vocal style that cannot be described let alone imitated; but it is for those who are willing to leave all notions of group improvisation at the door, and allow themselves to be engaged in a deep, emotional manner over the course of an hour.
"This record succeeds on many levels as both revelatory and disturbing as hell, but the former one, that it makes us ask heavy questions about our perceptions and personal issues, is the main one."
- Thom Jurek, All Music Guide
Hans Reichel: guitar, daxophone
Shelley Hirsch: voice, lyrics
Rüdiger Carl: accordion, clarinet
Paul Lovens: percussion
Recorded live by Daniel Koskowitz, Francois Dietz & Francois Cacic on May 14th, 1994, during the Musique Action festival at the Centre Culturel in Vandœuvre-les-Nancy/France.
Merci to Dominique Répécaud for friendly support.
Mastered by Jonas Bergler.
Produced by Jost Gebers.
Booklet artwork by Herr Goldbroiler, using photos by Dagmar Gebers (front) and Gérard Rouy.