Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

In Memoriam (P Henroit 1889-1944) – Les Joyaux de la Princesse [#623]

We’ve seen Les Joyaux de la Princesse (LDJP) on the music project several times before, so by this time we should be aware that yes, they have been associated with some far right philosophies and yes, they have looked at a history that some would prefer to be buried, but we should not bury history for how else can we learn the errors we have made in the past. Moreover, art should know no barrier and we should consider that, for all we know, even the Statue of David or the Mona Lisa may have hidden connotations no longer apparent to modern eyes.

However, readers also should remember that while some music in my collection has been associated with some less than savory organisations and times in history, even the likes of Band Aid and what they stand for are seen as obscene in some parts of the world, but that doesn’t mean that the music isn’t any good and, indeed, while I don’t agree with the politics and allusions made by such artists, I appreciate their work.

In Memoriam is LDJP’s second 2004 release and is a work that examines through noise, recordings and industrial ambience the life of Philippe Henroit, a staunch anti-communist and Nazi sympathiser in Vichy France.

Not knowing this when I obtained it, I enjoyed the music for what it is, atmospheric ambience overlain with recordings of a strong and passionate sounding French speech, a language that I have very little comprehension of beyond playing ping pong in La Rochelle. I suppose in my childlike innocence and ignorance, I am attracted to the haunting voices and sustained industrial music rather than the ideology and symbolism that is lost in aural exposition.

 

 

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Exposition Internationale des Arts et des Techniques Appliques a la Vie – Les Joyaux de la Princesse [#445]

Exposition InternationaleHi there! Steelrattus again, on day 7 of his 10 day guest stint.

Just when I thought the album titles couldn’t get any longer… this. Although it seems this album might actually be called Exposition Internationale, if Wikipedia is to be believed. Anyway, Les Joyaux de la Princesse (The Jewels of the Princess) are a French band, if you hadn’t guessed already. They’ve been around since 1986, and their music is a rather odd mixture of ambient and neo-classical, mixed in with samples from both French music and speeches. Their albums are typically limited editions, produced in elaborate box sets.

Exposition Internationale (des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne) is connected to said event, AKA the 1937 Paris Expo, and I’m assuming includes samples from speeches made there (it certainly includes olde-worldy French speeches). This album was released in 1998 though, not 1937. Although there are 10 tracks overall, they clock in at various times, with the opening track at almost 20 minutes in length, versus another that’s only 7 seconds.

When Stegzy handed over the blog baton, he did give me some brief notes on the album titles, and in some cases a one sentence description of the album. For this album said description was, “what is this shite?!”. As required under the terms and condition’s of Stegzy’s Music Project I have listened to the album, in this case probably three times. Technically the first time I listened to it though I had forgotten the MP3 player was on shuffle, on a playlist of all 10 albums. “Hmmm”, I thought, “this is a rather odd mixture, but I like it.” Which goes to show that my music taste probably shouldn’t be trusted. The second time I listened to the album it just didn’t sink in, so I gave it a third listen. As further evidence that my music taste shouldn’t be trusted I kinda liked this album, perhaps because it’s so unusual. The ambient tracks are quite nice and surreal, although not all delicate ambient as it’s quite heavy and military in places. I probably could have done without the French speeches to be honest. I’d give this a solid 3/5, but I’m not quite sure what situation would lend to me listening to it.

Here’s the opening track, which will give you a flavour of the album…

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Die Weiße Rose -Les Joyaux de la Princesse [#369]

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 19.16.01 If you didn’t know, and I didn’t, the White Rose, or the Die Weiße Rose, were a German resistance movement against the Nazis during the second world war. Their activities are largely unmentioned in popular history which is a great shame as their story is one that fills me with ire and pity. There are even a number of European films that tell their story which are well worth a watch when you’re feeling at peace with the world.  [For more on the White Rose see – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Rose or see the film –  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophie_Scholl_–_The_Final_Days].

Die Weiße Rose is also an album by old music project entrants Le Joyaux de la Princesse. You might remember them for their Croix de Bois and their collaboration with Blood Axis. This is by far their most poignant album to appear in the music project yet. Perhaps it is because I know the history of Die Weiße Rose and how the music makes a fitting artistic aural narrative to their story, or perhaps it’s because the true terror of a fascist nationalist government still remains in my lefty socialist mind.

I suggest a listen to this album in a book lined study with a strong drink and a packet of German cigarettes.

 

 

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Croix de Bois – Croix de Feu – Le Joyaux de la Princesse [#324]

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 22.19.08Once more into  the dark recesses of the psyche with the sinister French band Le Joyaux de la Princesse.

We’ve met LJDP before on the music project, way back at the very start of the music project. Cast your mind, or your mouse button, back to their collaboration with Blood Axis (Absinthe), or to one of their dark French history albums Aux Volontaires Croix De Sang or Aux Petits Enfants de FranceIf you did, and you’re still not scared or scarred by the music they produce, I invite you to turn another corner and enter further into the darkness with Croix de Bois Croix de Feu and remember, I like the atmospherics and not the political references that inspired the band.

And now for some French history: Croix de Bois (Wooden Crosses) is a 1932 film by Raymond Bernard. The film has an anti-war message and draws from the tragedy and horrors of the First World War. A lesson that, a hundred years later, we still have not learned.

Conversely, Croix de Feu was a French political movement with fascist links contributing to the Vichy France. Popular in the years between the two world wars and then for a short time after the second world war, Croix de Feu (cross of fire) became a part of the French Nationalist movement. A dark time for France and Europe. A dark time we must not forget or bury.

The album is the band’s 9th release and leaves not only a nasty taste in the mouth but a nasty feeling of unease and disappointment with the world. It is a powerful band, one that can cause unsettling feelings with music, old recordings of political rallies and no lyrics. I suggest that you only listen to this if you do not suffer from a nervous disposition.

 

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#110 – Aux Volontaires Croix De Sang – LJDP

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 18.24.20Aux Volontaires Croix De Sang – Les Joyaux De La Princesse

If it’s not Scottish chicks with guitars or hairy men from the 1970s, this project seems to dip in and out of the darker recesses of Euroculture.

This is yet another limited edition LP from LJDP. Not satisfied with having Absinthe bleeding from your ears or Aux Les Petits Enfants de France giving you frightful nightmares about goings on in Vichy era France; Aux Voluntaires Croix De Sang leads you through the even darker twisty bendy turns of dark French history.

Now here I must put a disclaimer. I like the atmospherics of LJDP. Nothing more. I don’t sit in my garret with my jackboots on saluting like a fuckwit. Nor do I burn religious symbolism, shave my head or tattoo swastikas all over my face. My political beliefs are so removed from the far right it’s down the road in the other direction, over the bridge and through the gap in the fence. I repeat, I like the atmospherics. I am mature and sensible enough to appreciate art for the creators effort, whether I share their beliefs or not and maintain detachment from anything subversive or otherwise.

Don’t have nightmares….

 

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#109 – Aux Petits Enfants de France – LJDP

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 18.02.33Aux Petits Enfants de France – Les Joyaux De La Princesse

If you read the entry for Absinthe  and tried out the Youtube playlist, you should have some idea about what is about to follow.

Les Joyaux De La Princesse (LJDP) presented the darkwave world with this album in about 2006. Dark, mournful vibrating chords force themselves into your skull via the ear like lukewarm liquid metal prongs.

Accompanied by recordings of French politicians from 1944, a very dark period of French history that you won’t find on l était une fois… l’homme, this haunting work will lay earworm eggs in your brain which will hatch and bury themselves deep into your psyche. Only resurfacing when you are having delirious hallucinations brought on by a nasty infection or a bad pint.

This is the stuff you should be listening to if you even consider yourself a hipster. Of course, I heard it first, so I’m hipper than you’ll ever be. Soul patch or no soul patch.

 

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Music Project – Album #49 – Absinthe: La Folie Verte – Blood Axis & Les Joyaux de la Princesse

Absinthe: La Folie Verte – Blood Axis & Les Joyaux de la Princesse

Absinthe

In days gone by, I would scour the usenet binary newsgroups looking for delicious audible morsels to shove in my ears and seem highbrow and cultured. People like my friend Nick seem to do it without blinking. They’d find a band nobody had heard of, proclaim them as the best thing ever, and bang on about how other people just don’t understand their message. Then, as the band becomes popular, they deny ever having liked them in the first place or proclaim that they’re not as good as they were when the drummer used Zillon drumsticks or whatever.

Hipsters I believe the youth of today call such people.

Knobheads, as we used to call them back in the day.

Oh but how things change.

I came across Blood Axis and Les Joyaux de la Princesse (LJDP) on usenet and immediately fell for their mix of poetry and atmospheric melodies carved from old wax cylinders and gramophone records. Genius.

Kind of like what Ibizan DJs do, but with 78s. And with atmosphere. And culture.

Absinthe is a brilliant work of art. It’s trippy, dark and very atmospheric. I’ve used that word a lot in this post. Atmosphere. Yes. If ever you wanted to know what atmosphere was, you should listen to this. I recall having it on my MP3 player when I was in hospital and thinking “If I listen to this when I’m tripping off my tits on painkiller/morphine I’ll have a right royal time!”

Yeah. I did. I was immediately transported to a Paris of dirty opium dens, unclean absinthe shops and moody Gauloises cigarette smoking in the 18th/19th century. I highly recommend listening to this alone, in a dark damp uncarpeted room during a rain storm. With only a rag for a curtain, a rickety table and an old wooden chair for company.

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