Album of the Week: Artaud / Chalosse

Antonin Artaud is someone we should all get to know. Unfortunately he’s been dead since 1948. Fortunately his works in literature, theater and art are timeless and his influence continues to be influential.

A year before his death, Artaud was commissioned by Ferdinand Pouey, head of the dramatic and literary broadcasts for French Radio, to produce a radio play for French National Broadcasting, which Artaud did, but the work was banned because of its controversial content before it hit the airwaves. That work, Pour en Finir avec le Jugement de dieu (To Have Done With The Judgment Of God), can be heard in its original form all over the internet and here:

But that’s not the record I want to tell you about. While there have a been a number of musicians who have used Pour en Finir avec le Jugement de dieu as fodder for their music (and art), the one that grabs me the most, the one that adds to the madness of the day (La Folie Du Jour by Maurice Blanchot is another favorite piece of literature and I always have extra copies for take-out from the Barn) is from Marc Chalosse.

Artaud young and older

DJ Nem, turntables/electronics, Steve Arguelles, percussion/electronics, and Command Geko, Tascam K7/voice/electronics join Chalosse, electronics, and improvise over the top of Araud’s original recording. To my ears and brain, this is an additive process and turns this pained plea for humanity into a musical form.

From the liner notes by Marc Dachy:

For even if altered in many respects, the society attacked by Artaud is still our very own, ceaselessly reinforcing what William Burroughs call the control machine, aiming to create more and more soldiers and less and less free individuals

Chalosse’s Pour en Finir avec le Jugement de dieu / Artaud Remix double CD (disc 1 is the original radio play) came out in 2001 on Signature and you can find used copies online or opt for the download from Tidal. One word of warning: this is not easy listening.