Turzi returns with ‘B’ on Paris label, Record Makers, the second part of his alphabet album trilogy. In a totally different trip to A, the shackles are cast off as Romain Turzi embarks on a voyage around the world instead of musical history. Aided and abetted by his band, Four Organ, the songs are named thematically around the cities that inspired them.
Romain Turzi’s attitude towards music has always been about discovering sounds that please the creator, and in so doing develop new roles for instruments at odds with their origins. The approach that led to the teutonic rock of debut album, A, making eyes at Morricone in frenetic style, has become altogether more ambitious.
The majority of B was recorded in a villa in the south of Corsica, where Romain and his group Four Organ were cut off from the outside world for two weeks. A sense of urgency and immediacy was discovered, the polar opposite to the stop-start banality of life on the road with Danava in the US and Simian Mobile Disco in the UK.
Touring stateside with Danava rubbed off on the group, their playing becoming quick and hard as a heavy stoner mindset took hold of our intrepid charges. The influence of groups such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Flower Travelling Band comes to the fore whilst different instrumental flourishes provided by bouzouki, sitar, cimbalom, violin, folk and classical guitars colour the record in a different way to A.
Supplementing these group efforts are tracks of a more electronic nature, conjured up by Romain between his apartment and Point Ephemere, his second home by the Canal St Martin in Paris. A plethora of old techno gear inhibits the sound deliberately, whilst his approach and background add eccentricity - honed through solo performances in the French capital and further afield. Spontaneity and flexibility towards the listener reveals an openness and honesty, common ground with SMD.
Working with Record Makers, it’s difficult for any release not to involve some kind of unique collaboration. Brigitte Fontaine and Bobby Gillespie are the star turns here, with characteristic vocal contributions to Bamako and Baltimore. The pivotal contribution comes from Max Heyes (Doves, Radio 4, The Rakes, Patrick Wolf, Primal Scream) who mixed the album in London with a little help from Brendan Lynch.
The result is a whirlwind journey that spans ten countries and five continents in less than an hour. A voyage where the Sergio Leone via Black Sabbath stylings of Beijing collide headlong with the Jean-Michel Jarre trance-out of Brasilia. The shadow of Creation Records looms large over Baltimore, but next to the ambient, Shankar soundscapes invaded briefly by Fontaine and Areski on Bamako, it’s hardly overpowering. A clear personality emerges for the listener to engage with, doused with a healthy dose of disrespect for history (A) and the world (B). For the final part of the trilogy, Romain will tackle a subject much closer to home - cheese.
Romain Turzi is the leader of the band. Hailing from Versailles, his youth was fuelled by experimentation. Hours spent in bedrooms surrounded by synthesizers matched by violently fierce live shows around Paris.