Aquaserge ‘….present Ce Tres Cher Serge’ (manimal). If like me you’re one of those types who when faced with reviews or press releases that mention the dreaded word ‘unclassifiable’ are forced to pack bags and head to the hills rather than hold an enquiry after foolishly partaking of said releases in the hope of finding some musical holy grail only to kick yourself for wasting the best part of an hour of your life then you may be forgiven a wide berth the width of a small ocean when it comes to records bearing the name Aquaserge. I mention this because its nigh on impossible to find a review of Aquaserge that doesn’t at some point take the cursing ’unclassifiable’ tag in its wordy stride. A spot of dedicated background research did in fact have us worrying – nay fretting – nay resolute – to the belief that this wasn’t going to be anything less than disappointing. Even the mere fact that it features members of Stereolab and a guest appearance by Acid Mother main man Kawabata Makoto couldn’t shake us of our mildly alarmed indifference. Ah well bang it on we thought and bang it on we did. And do you know what – it is unclassifiable, even in an age where musical extremes are constantly pushed with questions asked of a listeners tolerance and understanding, ’c’est tres cher serge’ the latest opus from these French psychonauts still sounds like some rule book ripping pill popped psyche jazz flashback seeking to blur the lines and craft out a species of sound so molten and malleable that even as it cools its still unstable and shifting direction. A mind tripped mirage of late 60’s and early 70’s references – that in terms of modern day nods perhaps only Dungen perhaps veers ever so slightly to maintain any notional common ground. It really is a hot setting tumble dryer of cross wiring markers, disjointed, deranged and defiantly somewhere else far off the populace preferring pop map. Book ended by the sedate entrée / exit passages ’la genese’ and ’retrouvailles’ – the eight suites packed between are delivered with a fried n’ flipped panache, skewed ad hoc time signatures create a fluid freeform core that constantly shifts in form as though someone is at your feet impatiently yanking a rug from beneath you, one minute there’s the post punk earth beat of ’errance’ itself soon braided by an array of mooching brass punctuations and a want for fracturing prog disciplines that in turn cook up an exotic brew that by turns seems to touch base with Cluster, Supersister, Quickspace and mid career Stereolab , elsewhere the frayed and skewed jazz signatures and post / art rock intricacy of ’un soir de tempate’ could easily be three separate cuts in one such is its erratic knack for skin shedding. Those loving of their sounds drizzled in kraut groove may do well to visit ’ce cher serge est perdu’ wherein you’re treated to momentary glimpses of the kind of grizzled and wasted bliss fuelled vietcom psych so admirably forged by the Black Angels. Fellow countrymen La STpo are recalled on the frankly wigged out ’on monde englouti’ while ’tombe dans la selve’ has the kind of wiring psych prog complexity you imagine being instigated by VdGg albeit as though re-wired by a ’SF Sorrow’ era Pretty Things or better still a seriously wired Pink Fairies. Then there’s the hyper galactic space tripped juggernaut that is ’les algues’ – a control panel jamming voyage into the oblivion – a psychotropic and mind expanding slab of wig flipped howling skree and grizzled beatnik blues – much we suspect perfect for you Mugstar loving types. And then – calm. Tranquillity. Peace. As though a storm has passed the mellowed ’vers le neant’ emerges – a beautifully wistful slice of wood crafted Oriental tinged folk that trips ever so softly into a curious Ghost meets Le Mans dreaminess persued by the unsettling atmospherically wide screened noir scarred ’visions’ a kind of ice tingled solemnly stirring Grails meets Komeda overseen by Oddfellows Casino. Which leaves the effervescent radiant rush of the sun drenched lysergic thrill of ’retrouvailles’ to wrap up proceedings in a most breathless way applying as it does all manner of bright eyed and optimistically upbeat harmonic la la’s a la Cockney Rebel with a healthy side serving of Small Faces and Kinks and oodles of Stereolab like bracing bachelor pad bubblegum pop. ’ce tres cher serge’ is classily unclassifiable.

 thanks to


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