Frederick Galiay - Time Elleipsis

DM, Vital Weekly

Frederick Galiay, who is new to me, presents a new album by his ensemble Chamæleo Vulgaris : Antoine Viard (electrified baritone saxophone), Jean-Sébastien Mariage (electric guitar), Julien Boudart (analogue synthesizer), Sébastien Brun & Franck Vaillant (drums, acoustic and electronic percussion sets) and Galiay himself on electric bass.
Except for Franck Vaillant – a very active force in the French scene of experimental music – the names didn’t ring a bell. Galiay started Chamæleo Vulgaris in 1989. At the base, it is a duo with Jean-Sébastien Mariage, with different associated musicians over the years. Since 1997 they released three albums. Third album ‘Reset’ (2011) had to wait a long time for its successor. But it was worthwhile waiting, as ‘Time Elleipsis’ is an intriguing album. It is one lengthy composition, a suite in seven parts of 58 minutes length and composed by Galiay while travelling Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar during autumn 2016, taking inspiration from ceremonies of Theravada Buddhism and diverse animistic practices.
It is a work of orchestral proportions. It is a kind of doom drone jazz if this category exists. They are heading somewhere in the same universe as the long-defunct group Shub Niggurath. They create long extended noisy sound textures; slowly moving patterns, sometimes driven by a slow beat; very dark and sinister music of deep sonorities. They succeed very well in keeping the music captivating. Slowly but with a burning intensity, they built their massive constructions of multi-layered sounds and noise. Sometimes the music is almost ‘ritualistic’ – without the irritating pathos - what may be due to the Asiatic sensibilities Galiay integrated into his composition and it is truly fascinating and impressive work.