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Contrepoint (LP)

MONSTER MELODIES RECORDS (2017)

The label Monster Melodies releases the record by Contrepoint. 1000 copies only. 

BIOGRAPHY:

CONTREPOINT

At the end of the sixties, Jean Pierre Weiller, a young Parisian and amateur bassist, used to spend all his holidays in England to perfect his English. He was an sssistant at a Soft Machine concert, and befriended Hugh Hopper who introduces him to Robert Wyatt. Hosted by the latter, he is invited to the Abbey Road studios to attend the recording of Kevin Ayers’ album “Joy of a toy” where he sings with Wyatt in the choruses of the first title. A dream come true for the young Frenchman, crossing paths on this occasion with Syd Barrett and the Beatles who were recording in neighboring studios.

 

Back in Paris, in October 1970, he decided to add a saxophonist to the band “Brave New World” (based on the novel by Aldous Huxley “The best of all worlds”), a band he set up at the age of seventeen with two other high school students of Paris’s thirteenth arrondissement, who just like him are passionate about music. Having become a quartet, the group takes the name Contrepoint.

 

Contrepoint firstly formed of bassist Jean Pierre Weiller (one of the best of his generation), organist Jean Pierre Carolfi (excellent classical organist, first prize at the conservatoire), percussionist Mike Freitag and saxophonist Robert Taylor, start to explore avant-garde music between rock and free jazz. No leader, no accompanist in the group, only instrumentalists who compose very personal music.

Like so many bands at the time, Counterpoint performs in the circuit of the MJC and for various events. The members gained a certain notoriety, allowing them to be invited to the Pop Club of “France Inter” where they performed three singles: Facelift, Golden section, and Lily Kong in the company of English musicians Elton Dean, Lox Coxhill, Hugh Hopper and Laurie Allen .

 

With luck, the band performs at the festival of Auvers sur Oise in 1971, on Friday afternoon and has a great success. But for the remainder of the festival, it rained on the Saturday and the Sunday. Gong, Colosseum, Grateful dead who were supposed to play had to be cancelled. A terrible fiasco for this French-style Woodstock...

 

The group had a growing reputation and were in talks with CBS to release an album, but it was not like England, in France the market for innovative music was not in line with the expectations from the french majors requesting maximum profitability.  Contrepoint never recorded a studio album.

 

Contrepoint did end up recording a live single, “Unfathomable of the seventh time”, on the initiative of Laurent Thibault, for the double vinyl Puissance 13 + 2 on the label Thélème in August 1972, a compilation with other bands such as Catherine Ribeiro, Magma, Catharsis, Ergo Sum, Zabu, but this will be their only release.

 

Firstly, Kevin Ayers in Orleans in February 1972, then Contrepoint will perform at the Gibus for four dates November 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 6th. For Renault, the group composes and performs the music of a documentary to the glory of the Alpine automobiles that the firm had just acquired.

 

In June 1973, discovered by Pierre Lattes, Contrepoint is invited in the show Rock En Stock to incarnate, alongside the Germans of Agitation Free, the avant-garde of European rock.


In 1974, it was a new beginning. Counterpoint plays in the first part of the new group of Hugh Hopper. A band with two bassists, including Jean Pierre Weiller and Jean Pierre Carolfi, with musicians Elton Dean and Mike Travis. The first concerts on 16 and 17 January 1974 in Paris will be followed by a tour throughout France.


A record from the band Hugh Hopper Monster immortalised on its second face the performance recorded in Bordeaux on March 20, 1974.

But despite the recognition of the audience, after more than 200 concerts throughout France, Contrepoint separate in 1976.

 

The unpublished record of Contrepoint, of only 1000 numbered copies, made of transparent vinyl, including two inserts that we sell today was recorded live with the first formation of the group. Directed by Jean Yves Tonello at the Ecole Supérieure d'Architecture in Paris in 1971, originally engraved on acetate at the time, it remains one of the few existing testimonies of the work of these excellent musicians.