Somnambule - Writing About Music

Laurent Pernice and Jacques Barberi ~ Drosophiles Et Doryphores

No background on this one, no prior experience of the players, no promo sheet from the label. The label’s website ( doesn’t really explain anything. The digipak gives precious little away, except that:

and the cover’s minimal floral design doesn’t communicate anything. So there’s nothing left but the music...

Au Delà Du Miroir begins with the sound of comingling saxophone and synthesizers. After a minute it’s succeeded by a forthright declaration from Barberi’s sax (filtered in some way to make it sound a little off-colour) accompanied by tinkling piano, preprogrammed beats and synthetic treatments. The sax sounds on the edge of crazed, pealing off into wails and squeals which are in fairly marked contrast to the beats/piano which convey something of the the air of a polite jazzfunk track. The effect is strange – more like two tracks running in parallel and by singular chance happening to play in time.

Sur La Route Encore begins with noir chords sounded on electric piano with Barberi this time sounding as though he’s playing from a rainlit doorway down a neonlit alleyway. Pernice continues to provide atmospheres and comping to support his colleague’s soloing. Entourloupe sounds strikingly like a three minute version of Jon Hassell’s Charm (Over Burundi Cloud) from Fourth World Vol.1: Possible Musics, whether this is deliberate or not is unclear. Octave Moins Un maintains the noir feel with suspended tippytoe piano and a slightly crunchier rhythm bed. Barberi traces long streamers of saxophone over these elements.

Pernice and Barberi appear to be aiming at a form which allows for the exploration of electronic tone colours and instrumental soloing and this they do with some success. There are a few reservations however, namely that the feel of the tracks is a little too similar and that, although an uncredited percussionist appears on at least one track, the programmed percussion is a little limited. This music might have been more powerful had a flesh and blood player been employed. Overall though, Drosophiles Et Doryphores is an interesting hybrid and it will be interesting to hear the direction in which Pernice and Barberi develop this music.

Colin Buttimer
June 2004
Published by Milkfactory