Producer Charif Megarbane creates many different styles of music—folk, avant-soul, experimental jazz, funk, and disco—each blending uniquely different from the next. In most cases, artists who tamper with that much music usually fall short somewhere. But for Megarbane—who records under the names Heroes & Villains, Trans-Mara Express, and Cosmic Analog Ensemble—he’s able to do right by each genre, keeping the traditional aspects of each while adding his own spin.
On Les Sourdes Oreilles (“The Deaf Ears” in French), Megarbane’s latest album as Cosmic Analog Ensemble, the composer opts for cinematic 1970s funk and soul, the type you’d hear in a spaghetti western or Quentin Tarantino flick. Using electric and acoustic guitars, flutes, and clavinet (among many other instruments), Megarbane builds a lush, beautifully constructed suite—incredibly haunting and robust, nodding to the orchestral soul of forefathers Curtis Mayfield, David Axelrod, and Isaac Hayes, and newer conductors like Adrian Younge and BADBADNOTGOOD. While there are standout songs, Les Sourdes Oreilles should be played without breaks to thoroughly absorb its scene-setting ambience. This is a fluid arrangement, each track blending seamlessly into the next for a textured listen.
Oreilles harbors a distinct ‘70s ethos, yet it draws from the same well of which rapper Ghostface Killah and producer Madlib pull their sounds. On songs like “Petite Fleur Industrielle” and “Résilience,” you can almost hear MF DOOM rapping about cookies and New York license plates. With its methodical drum knock and sinister organ stabs, “Le Dernier Mot” begs for Ghost’s rapid-fire falsetto. All told, Les Sourdes Oreilles is a crate-digger’s dream, a magnum force of infectious grooves and sample-ready melodies that feel rare and familiar at the same time. Despite all the great releases from Megarbane to this point, Les Sourdes Oreilles is easily one of his best. —Marcus J. Moore
Designed like a 70's movie soundtrack Graal, with the perfect hijacking artwork of Jerk 45, the album is a future now crate digging target. Built like a narrative scenario, scene after scene, each composition deploys his uniqueness, from the explosives intense actions of "Camille 3000", moments of suspence with "Sol Sur Sol" to running chase on "En Faction" and flying panoramic views of "Point De Bascule"... the compositions are depicting a rich range of situations, moods and intrigue.
Brilliantly composed, produced and interprated by Charif Megarbane, playing himself all instruments, track after track, each song is a one man piece of art.
Chiseled drum breaks, evocative bass and stirring melodies are a part of a bigger plan, sprinkled with subtle sound effects.
"Les Sourdes Oreilles" is a long artisanal goldsmith work, cooking occidental classic jazz funk tradition into an afro oriental kitchen. It's what make this release so awesome, unique and necessary to our deaf ears.
This is a heavy rare groove material. As you can imagine looking to the cover, this is all about legendary cinematic jazz funk, in the continuum of US, italian and french composers of the 70's like François de Roubaix, Piero Piccioni, David Axelrod, Piero Umiliani, Galt Mcdermot, Alain Goraguer, Janko Nilovic...
The red translucid vinyl comes with a A2 (59,4x42cm) poster dedicated to the artwork and its autor Jerk 45. A nice way to give an extra life to a beatutifull cover. And it will be like this for all the next records to come!
It's never too late for intemporal music, just if there's no more copies for sale!