Sea of Tranquility

Jack Dupon: Demon Hardi

If I could use one word to describe the music of the French band Jack Dupon, it would be ‘strange’. This is avant progressive rock that lends itself well to the RIO movement. The music is very difficult to describe and is very eclectic so if you are into the avant-garde you should continue reading.

Not to be fooled, Jack Dupon is a band and not one individual. Hailing from France, the band includes Arnaud M’Doihoma (bass, vocals), Gregory Pozzoli (guitars, vocals), Thomas Larsen (drums, percussion, vocals) and Philippe Prebet (guitars, vocals). Their new album is called Demon Hardi and is the follow up to their debut released in 2008.

The main highlight of this disc for me is the guitar playing of Pozzoli and Prebet. While angular rhythms and discordant chords attack the listener from all possible angles there are also some pretty moments that break up the madness that is Jack Dupon. There is also a good dose of guitar infused psychedelia that works rather well in many of these songs. The one negative is the French sung vocals. They are just not very tuneful but I suppose they do suite the rather bizarre style of music. I believe a more melodic approach would have added that much more contrast to the jarring sounds found throughout the disc. That said, the humour of the band does shine through in the vocals and Frank Zappa has to be a major influence. The music of King Crimson would be another apt comparison, although not vocally.

The instrumental “Sombre traffic” is one of my favourites with an almost circus-like beginning, Eastern tinged guitar rhythms and a touch of the psychedelic. The guitar playing here is a highlight. More of that psychedelic ’70s influence can be found in the hard driving “Le château de l’éléphant” where the band’s playing is pretty mind-bending. The avant-prog of “Marmite” is another strong tune with razor edged guitar work adding to the quirky melody along with some tricky time sigs and various musical change ups.

The album’s last song is the eclectic “Oppression” featuring off kilter grooves and guitar styles ranging from Eastern to psychedelic to intense angular jamming. The band slows down the tempo to include more melodic guitar phrasings and a languid bass line which nicely contrasts the more frenetic passages.

Aside from the vocals, which will surely be an acquired taste, this is a very good album of Zappa influenced music which should garner much attention from the avant and RIO crowds. Musically, this is exciting stuff indeed.

Added: July 31st 2011
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf