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Idle Moments

Nyssa Musique - Comme Au Moulin

Nyssa Musique - Comme Au Moulin

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This reissue is presented by Ici Bientôt, the label run by Boule_o, otherwise known as the owner of the legendary record stand Geminicricket located in the heart of St Ouen fleamarket (just outside of Paris). Their first release from a couple years ago, Nef - Mais Alors!!?..C’est à l’envers, had won our love instantly as much for the incredible (and pretty much unheard of) music as for the packaging and sound quality, and the same goes for Nyssa Musique.


Like Nef, Nyssa Musique were a French band navigating the 1980s underground, while following a unique and original path. It was a time when hybridation between genres was the rule, influences came from everywhere and were mixed in a non-hierarchical manner.  Comme Au Moulin ithrows a bridge between jazz, minimal and world music, both oriental and North African. Think about Midori Tanaka’s work with Mkwaju Ensemble, as well as the experimentations of Don Cherry and Jon Hassell who mixed all kinds of sonic folklores in order to create what became known as fourth world.


Nyssa Musique was the brainchild of Armand Amar (later to become a film soundtrack composer) and the English world percussionist Jon Boswell. They were both familiar with the world of contemporary dance, and this can be hard in this album where rhythm is at the forefront, be it tribal or hypnotic. The closest comparison could perhaps be the music of their contemporary Etienne Schwarcz (soon to be the center of a retrospective on Time Capsule), who also created percussion heavy music made for contemporary dance. 


According to the liner notes, the five members met at a Codona concert, which makes all the sense in the world. Together with Jean-François Roger (on vibes, marimbas and Tibetan bowls), Henri Tournier (flutes) and Renaud Garcia-Fons (double bass) they made this unique, one off album which had mysteriously stayed below the radar until now.


Like Don Cherry’s Organic Music Society, Nyssa Musique would certainly have been labelled spiritual jazz today, but the notable difference was their interest in contemporary classical and repetitive music, as well as the traditional cultures of Southeast Asia, particularly India (‘Vol D’Ibis’) and Indonesia (‘Comme Au Moulin’). Cosmic world music beyond borders - what a treat.

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