Occitan singer/songwriter J.G. Tòcabiòl made two LPs for French Revolum label, run in Toulouse by Rosine de Péira since the mid-1970s. The first one, Es el… es ela… (It’s Him, it’s Her…) in 1977 and a second one, Belèu (Maybe), in 1978. Along Ventadorn, Revolum was the leading publisher of Occitan music in France. They issued various folk and protest singers, as well as the incredible Riga Raga LP I posted earlier. Thanks to a team of fine backing musicians, Tòcabiòl’s debut updated the Occitan folk medium with Frippertronics on guitar, synthesizer sound effects and sinuous electric organ parts, with a style that was both lyrical and progressive.
♫ Though the first tracks stay close to traditional acoustic folk, the inclusion of oboe – played by Vincent Penchinat – and harpsichord sounds on electric organ bring these humble folk tunes into chamber music territory. Track #3 L’amistat is exquisitely balanced between accordion and acoustic guitar, with nothing else in between, which is typical of this LP’s minimalist arrangements. Bass guitar appears on #4 Per signification, along soft synthesizer portamento notes in the background. When we reach #5 and 7, the synthesizer takes the lead and drives a pair of infectious, off-kilter tracks with duck’s quack sounds, announcing the weird arrangements of the B side. The epic 19mns title track starts with electronic beeps, progressively joined by bass guitar and organ accompanying Tòcabiòl’s voice. The track goes through various phases and instrumental passages with an instrumentation and magical organ sounds that recall Bo Hansson’s Lord of the Rings, 1972. When the Fripp-ian guitar enter, Es el, es ela… has already derailed from the folk idiom confort zone to enter experimental rock territory. Unforgettable. There was a CD reissue at some point with 5 extra tracks, but it seems to be even rarer than original LP copies!
01 Ma Mia Maria (3:22)
02 Lei fuòcs de la Sant Joan (2:38)
03 L’amistat (2:45)
04 Per signification (3:27)
05 Tot es gris (3:19)
06 La venguda (2:42)
07 La dròlla dau capelan (3:06)
08 Es el, es ela… (18:55)
Total time 40:20
LP released by Revolum, ref. REV008, Toulouse, France, 1977