Lesson #8: Simultaneous Worldwide Fame and Obscurity
The latest French TV album, Pardon Our French (a.k.a. FTV8), twitches, squirts, squeaks, flows, soars, marches, stomps, cranks, hovers, trips, uses sonic commas, semi-colons, ellipses, does ballet and the Snoopy dance, goes to the circus and west but not yeast, bewilders - all in ways the faithful will love and virgin ears listening for something unusual might well appreciate. The bewildering part spans the whole hour. That's because the music seems to evoke varying parts. Yes, Frank Zappa and John Lurie's Lounge Lizards ... and none of them; yet it's distinctive enough that familiar ears will realize that this is, indeed, Mike Sary and his musically-deranged posse. And yes, good news that is.
As usual, the song titles (i.e., "Everything Works in Mexico," "Tears of a Velvet Clown," etc.) sound like phrases and statements excised from a novel or essay - or a comic book. What's also intriguing is whether the FTV gang, folks that have been doing this around Louisville and beyond since 1983, names their songs before or after the songs' creations (or along the way), as well as learning to associate these exercises in musical cinema with their titles.
Take, for instance. "Sekala Dan Niskala," which apparently opens with sitar, tabla and xylophone dancing together until being joined by a scurrying violin, viola or fiddle and then bass and then searing electric guitar - all hurrying to catch something, until the pace slows down into a field of drama. Various instruments then turn into the chimes of some strange clocks. The clocks abruptly give way to more sonic rushing about that leads to the abrupt end of the song's six-plus minutes. And that's the shortest song on the CD, which is more good news for fans of FTV and prog-rock fans in general.
To learn more about Sary and his partners in prog-rock crime, click over to www.frenchtvonline.com. To express your feelings regarding this and other FTV music, contact Mr. Sary at email@example.com