Jac Berrocal + David Fenech + Vincent Epplay – Ice Exposure
release date : January 18 2019 (order the LP here)
label : blackest ever black
format : LP

Ice Exposure is the second album from the trio Jac Berrocal + David Fenech + Vincent Epplay, released on the Blackest Ever Black label. Featuring Sayoko Papillon on vocals on one track. Mastered by the legendary Noel Summerville.

Press release from the label :

Jac Berrocal, David Fenech and Vincent Epplay return with Ice Exposure, their second album for Blackest Ever Black. A sequel and companion piece of sorts to 2015’s Antigravity, its title couldn’t be more apt: sonically it is both colder, and more exposed – in the sense of rawer, more volatile, more vulnerable – than its predecessor, capturing the combustible energy and barely suppressed violence of the trio’s celebrated live performances with aspects of noir jazz, musique concrète, no wave art-rock, sound poetry and spectral electronics all interpenetrating in unpredictable and exhilarating ways. While there are moments of great sensitivity and even a cautious romanticism, the prevailing mood is one of anxiety, paranoia, and mounting psychodrama: close your eyes and Ice Exposure feels like a dissociative Hörspiel broadcasting from the seedy backstreets of your own troubled mind.

Before he picks up an instrument or opens his mouth, Berrocal’s unique and compelling presence can be felt: a combination of studied, glacial cool and anarchic, in-the-moment intensity that has served him well over a long and storied career. It was honed during his time as a theatre and film actor, and in the 70s Paris improv scene, it powered his influential Catalogue group in the 1970s, numerous seminal, sui generis solo sides, and far-sighted collaborations with the likes of Nurse With Wound, Lol Coxhill, Pascal Comelade and James Chance which have seen him come to be valorised by two generations of avant-garde agitators and eccentrics. Now in his eighth decade, it comes with an added gravitas, perhaps, but no less energy or vitality. On Ice Exposure, his lyrical, instantly recognisable trumpet playing is a key feature – see especially the ghostly, dubwise take on Ornette’s ‘Lonely Woman’, the dissolute exotica of ‘Salta Girls’, and the sublime echo-chamber soliloquy ‘Opportunity’. But more often it’s his voice that commands centre-stage, whether casually discharging surreal poetic monologues or moaning in animal despair – a vocal tour de force that transcends language and culminates in the Dionysian frenzy of ‘Why’, Berrocal’s half-spoken, half-howled exclamations jostling with David Fenech’s slashes of dissonant guitar, over Badalamenti-ish, panther-stalk drums.

Fenech’s origins are in the mail-art scene of the early ‘90s, when he led the Peu Importe collective in Grenoble, and since then, in addition to his own recordings he has worked as a software developer at IRCAM and played with Jad Fair, Rhys Chatham and many others. Together with Vincent Epplay he is responsible for Ice Exposure’s inspired arrangements and vivid, vertiginous sound design. Epplay is a visual artist and composer with particular interest in aleatory composition, concrete, and the reappropriation of vintage sound and film material. He and Fenech fashion a remarkable mise-en-scene for Berrocal to inhabit, one that embraces cutting-edge electronics while also paying homage to the best traditions of outlaw jazz and libidinous rock’n’roll (‘Soundcheck’ invokes the brutish spirit of Berrocal’s hero Vince ‘Rock N Roll Station’ Taylor). On ‘Blanche de Blanc’, Berrocal’s voice is framed by a groaning, ghoulish orchestra of industrial drones, while ‘Equivoque’ evokes the most humid and hostile Fourth World landscapes and ‘Panic In Surabaya’ lives up to its name, a hectic, pulse-quickening concrète collage that leaves you gasping for air.

This is a searching and singular trio operating at the absolute peak of their powers, with an interplay that transcends studio and stage and occurs at an almost telepathic level. Ice Exposure is a triumph of that group mind, an underworld dérive as life-affirming as it is unnerving and psychologically precarious.

01 – Opportunity
David Fenech : Electric guitar
Jac Berrocal : Trumpet
Vincent Epplay : Percussions, Persephone synthesizer

02 – Car Havana Midi
David Fenech : Electric guitars
Jac Berrocal : Voice, Trumpet, Lyrics
Vincent Epplay : Synthi AKS, EMS sequencer, Spring box, Drums

03 – Equivoque
David Fenech : Sequenced percussions, Electric guitar, Background voice
Jac Berrocal : Voice, Trumpet, Lyrics
Vincent Epplay : Synthi AKS, Percussions

04 – Why
David Fenech : Electric bass, Fender Rhodes
Jac Berrocal : Voice, Lyrics
Vincent Epplay : Drums

05 – Lonely Woman
Written by Ornette Coleman
David Fenech : Electric guitar
Jac Berrocal : Trumpet
Vincent Epplay : Gong, Percussions, Electronics

06 – Lisiere island
David Fenech : Electric guitars
Jac Berrocal : Trumpet
Vincent Epplay : Synthi AKS, EMS sequencer ,Field recordings, Drums
Sayoko Papillon : Voices, Lyrics

07 – Salta Girls
David Fenech : Electric guitar, Field recordings (Salta, Argentina – 2012)
Jac Berrocal : Trumpet
Vincent Epplay : Percussions

08 – Check Sound Check
Jac Berrocal : Voice
Vincent Epplay : Editing, Cut Up phonics

09 – Blanche de Blanc
David Fenech : Electric guitars
Jac Berrocal : Voice, Lyrics
Vincent Epplay : Electronics, Digital filter, Samples

10 – Lower Mechanism
David Fenech : Berimbau, Electronic Rhythms, Electric guitar
Jac Berrocal : Trumpet
Vincent Epplay : Editing, Digital filters, Sound Effects
Sunra Epplay : Baby laughs

11 – Radio Tashkent
Jac Berrocal : Voice, Lyrics, Field Recordings
Vincent Epplay : Editing, Cassette Player sounds

12 – Panic in Surabaya
David Fenech : Javanese Gamelan
Jac Berrocal : Trumpet
Vincent Epplay : Electronic Percussion, Digital filter

13 – Sound Check
David Fenech : Electric Guitars
Jac Berrocal : Voice, Lyrics
Vincent Epplay : Percussions, Spring Box

14 – Ice Exposure
David Fenech : Drum Beat, Electric guitar
Jac Berrocal : Trumpet, Voices, Lyrics
Vincent Epplay : Electronic percussion, Digital filter, Persephone synthesizer

Recorded in Paris, Montreuil, Salta, Tashkent, 2012 – 2017
A2 + A4 recorded by Thibaut Javoy.
Distributed by Cargo.

Keeping faith with the sober cover design of their first release on Blackest Ever Black (2015’s Antigravity) Berrocal, Fenech and Epplay’s new LP once again reels off a series of noirish, outlandish scenarios in which the recurrent themes include invocations of veteran Berrocal’s jazz touchstones (there’s a cover of Ornette Coleman’s ‘Lonely Woman’) and dreamy or dread-filled evocations of far-flung destinations: instead of ‘Panic In Bali’ and ‘Riga Centraal’ we now get ‘Panic in Surabya’ and ‘Car Havana Midi’. ‘Radio Tachkent’ suggests that radio, and the possibility of drifting between different, overlapping transmissions, is also part of the picture. But that doesn’t mean that Ice Exposure is chaotic. Its 14 tracks are like punchy scenes or short stories – rich in dubbed-out detail, spooked vocal and trumpet lines, kicks like distant, controlled explosions and twangy, whammied guitar, but also tightly edited. You get the angle, the impression, and then you move on.
The Quietus – David McKenna , January 31st, 2019 (link)

Ice Exposure is a tense, volatile retch from the outskirts of spoken word, jazz, pitch black dub, no wave rock and splintered electronics. A lot of the album hangs on Berrocal’s avant-garde trumpet wails and raspy French and English prose, rattling around an industrial noir sound palette. A compelling side-step into a dark side back alley. Berrocal is in his 70s too – talk about staying restless.
Mookid – Conor McCaffrey February 1, 2019 (link)

Tweede album van trio op Blackest Ever Black. Zoals de titel doet vermoeden hebben we te maken met een ijskoud geluid, uitdagend, gevoelig, rauw, vluchtig en kwetsbaar. Aspecten van noir jazz, musique concrète, no wave, art-rock, sound poetry, elektronica. Wist je dat Berrocal sinds de seventies al samenwerkte met Nurse With Wound, Lol Coxhill, Pascal Comelade en James Chance? Luister naar ‘Lonely Woman’, met een knipoog naar Ornette Coleman.
Konkurrrent (link)

Noir jazz, musique concrète, no wave art-rock, sound poetry and spectral electronics tutto questo che compenetra in maniera imprevedibile creando ansia e paranoia. Insomma questo disco è un fottuto capolavoro.
Sunday Market #64–2019.02.17 (link)