Think Globally: Les Primitifs Du Futur

In this new feature, we’ll take a look at some of the most unique bands the world (as in, the whole world) has to offer.  Les Primitifs Du Futur was formed in 1986 by French guitarist Dominique Cravic and American cartoonist/banjoist R. Crumb.  Crumb’s lifelong fascination with traditional folk music and his years living in France led him to crave a European project as authentically nostalgic as his Cheap Suit Serenaders.  In the same year as their formation, Les Primitifs released their debut album, Cocktail d’Amour.  A collection of original musette music, the disc sounds like it came out of the same era as Django Reinhardt‘s classic jazz recordings.  Featuring bright accordions and mandolins and instantly evocative melodies, the album is an absolutely essential listen for fans of world music.

Due, in part, to Crumb’s infrequent availability, Les Primitifs head to the duo on a very irregular basis.  Their four albums were staggered between 6 and 9 years apart, with the latest, Tribal Musette, coming out in 2008.  Though Crumb does not tour with the band, he appears on their recordings and serves as their creative (not to mention artistic) director.  Each album is a showcase of Crumb’s iconic art, often depicting and reflecting that particular album’s theme.

Les Primitifs make their music unique by not always strictly adhering to traditional European instrumentation.  Bottleneck slide guitars, theremins, bowed saws and Asian lutes all contribute to their trans-continental sound.  Likewise, influences of blues and American jazz abound, making Les Primitifs’ albums a delight for fans of countless musical styles.  Though their albums tend to be a little hard to come by, the passion that drives listeners to find the records is the exact same passion that makes Crumb and Cravic make this music in the first place.  They joy you feel when you do find one of their albums on your local record store’s shelf (as I did this past weekend) is matched only by the joy you’ll feel when you start listening.

Listen: Les Primitifs Du Futur – “Fox Musette” from World Musette (1999)

~ by E. on July 6, 2010.

One Response to “Think Globally: Les Primitifs Du Futur”

  1. ooh la la!

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