Klimperei - "Tout Seul Sur La Plage En Hiver"
(Musea Records/In Poly Sons 2001, IPS0501, originally released 1991)
From Aural Innovations #18 (January 2002)
From Lyon, France, Klimperei is the husband and wife duo of Françoise and Christophe Petchanatz. A German word meaning "strumming on piano, Klimperei play a difficult to describe music that at various times reminded me of Henry Cow, Etron Fou Leloubon, Tuxedomoon, avant-garde pop, and even children's music. Tout Seul Sur La Plage En Hiver, which means 'alone on the beach in Winter', was the duo's first album from 1991, now reissued by In Poly Sons. Looking around at the Klimperei web site it seems they've had several releases over the last ten years, and a recent email accouncement I received indicates they have collaborated with Frank Pahl (Only A Mother).
At times light and bouncy and at others dark and slightly ominous, the music always has a quirky, busy quality that keeps things moving along at a steady clip. There are 28 tracks on the CD, most in the 1-3 minute range. However, Klimperei's instrumentals make their statements quickly, needing little time for extended development, though the tracks often segue seamlessly from one to another. I saw no list of instrumentation but I can hear piano, assorted keyboards and synths, accordion (or is it keyboards?), flutes, acoustic guitar, and percussion. Piano seems to be the most prominent instrument and some of the strongest songs are the simplest ones in which the piano melodies sound like something from an old Italian film or German cabaret. Dissonance is used in sparse, measured portions and to good effect. It's hard to describe but the music has a seductive charm that sucked me in with it's melodies, but also has an elusive complexity that kept the tunes interesting throughout the entire set. I'd be interesting in hearing Klimperei's more recent music, and certainly the collaboration with Frank Pahl.
For more information you can visit the Klimperei web site at:
Tout Seul Sur La Plage En Hiver is distributed by In Poly Sons, a division of Musea Records. You can visit their web site at: http://www.musearecords.com/.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz