Album review: CYRILLE VERDEAUX & PASCAL MENETREY – Tribal Hybrid Concept


Gonzo [Release date 12.05.14]

‘Tribal Hybrid Concept’ is cerebral and at times emotional music. It’s a cross cultural melange with lofty ambitions that fuses different genres of music with a succession of samples.  The result is free flowing atmospheric vibes that are ultimately subsumed by keyboard playing producer Cyrille Verdeaux’s contemporary fixation with dance beats.

The giveaway is the number of times ‘Trance’ and ‘Dance’ appears in the titles, as if to give us advance warning that no matter how diverse the global samples, the album will never stray too far away from the next dance beat.

The opening ‘Terre Australe’ is one of the more interesting pieces. It features didjeridoo, South African Chants and a keyboard led melody as part of a mesmerizing intro to a potentially interesting album, full of samples from imaginative sources.

‘Raoni’s Song’ is composed by Jean Michel Pinoteau and noticeably different from the rest. It features a haunting vocal collage which as the liner notes explain, features: ‘the genuine voice of Raoni’ – a figurehead in the Amazonian Indians struggle to survive. The track is recorded by his French explorer friend Jean-Pierre Dutilleux and musically adapted by Alexis Chanebau.

The result is an insistent rhythmic chant over a soft bed of synths, while ‘Shawnee Froid’ is another atmospheric piece that deftly melds voice samples with expansive keyboard parts.

‘Trance Fusion’ is the closest the album gets to electro with a jumble of global vocal samples, on a triumph of technology over substance, though Trance fans might well be drawn to the hi-energy beats.

‘Organic Trance’ takes things a step further, with in-the-field recordings of birds, insects and percussion over slowly evolving synth waves, before the dance beats kick in again.

The next 7 tracks are all sample led, with an interesting mix of unusual sounds bolstered by contrasting rhythms. There’s the tinkling Balinese metallophones of ‘Papou Pas Pris’, the tablas and Tibetan monks mantras of ‘Zeph Here’ – which certainly moves the air molecules – and the percolating rhythms of ‘Tuva Bene’, which to these ears sounds too close to an undisguised dance track, irrespective of the pygmy chants.

You could argue that the album has unearthed cross cultural links between various forms of percussion, chants and dance beats, but the Cyrille really has to do more with the source material. The different tribal chants and basic percussion to be found on ‘Trance Pire’ for example, remains no more than a loose aggregation of samples glued together by an interminable disco beat.

‘Tribal Hybrid Concept’ searches the world for samples that are used as source material to embellish a sub Trance/dance album. The combination only sporadically hypnotizes us on tracks like ‘Soufi Dance’, with its slick time changes and speeded up wailing chants from Qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn.

‘Tribal Hybrid Concept’ aims high, but doesn’t always deliver. Sometimes the blend of samples, dance beats and slowly evolving synth sweeps works well in terms of a progression, but at other times the album sounds rather detached, if not clinical.

The late Pascal Menetrey’s recordings are a joy and there’s no doubting the zeal and imagination with which keyboard player Cyrille Verdeaux has brought the two worlds together, I just recoil from the endless dance beats that are finally laid to rest on the trippy ‘Amazon Corazon’, which captures the real vibe of the steamy Amazonian rain forest.

‘Tribal Hybrid Concept’ is never less than interesting, but it probably isn’t Trancey enough for dance fans, and it’s probably too esoteric for electronic and synth fans.  ***½

Review by Pete Feenstra


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