Catherine Ribeiro + Alpes

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finally getting to hear her first five albums with 2Bis / Alpes = jewel in the crown on the mutant sounds renaissance to date and that is saying something

the few people online talking about her generally point to Paix as the big one (and it is the production breakthrough, they add a traditional drum kit), but man the first one with the band Ribeiro + 2Bis (the band changed their name to Alpes with the followup), that album is difficult to categorize. just when you get to thinking that you know what instruments they're playing, suddenly there's a shift and you realize that there's actually no assurance whatsoever that this 'acoustic' record ever actually sounded in the room. suddenly you realize that's probably not a violin, suddenly you realize the drummer is a tape loop, suddenly she begins singing again

she didn't hit me straight away when listening this jan / feb, but 'les fees carabosse' kept coming up in shuffle, and that particualrly mad trans-coital screaming and the final resolution where all the acoustic instruments fade away to something that isn't even a note... since may these first five albums have been about 85% of all I listen to in the car. the songs are there, though it's hard to imagine anyone pulling off covering them without these vocals

haven't heard any of her later supposedly more traditional stuff. but she's apparently recording with Alpes again: and it's a crime that it seems to be mail order only, these records are at least as legendary as 75% of the kraut and freak folk stuff people that are keeping vote threads alive two weeks after the count is in

Milton Parker, Wednesday, 6 June 2007 02:51 (ten years ago) Permalink

"Un Regard Clair (Obscur)" from La petite fille aux fraises is playing on the tingly road to heaven

Dominique, Wednesday, 6 June 2007 03:10 (ten years ago) Permalink

yeah, they were good, eh.

2bis also recently hit me, too. i DLed it a year or two ago, burnt it and lost it. but what a record, totally unique and beats 95% of reissued 'essentials.'

i have three or four alpes things on cd, i think spalax did them. but now they seem to be really hard to find. and i have that "blues de piaf" thing... not so hot.

is the "libertes? 2004" box set a collection or new recordings?

GOTT PUNCH II HAWKWINDZ, Wednesday, 6 June 2007 03:16 (ten years ago) Permalink

it's a collection, compiling moments from 64 to mid-eighties. I'm suspicious because anything that omits 'les fees carabosse' is likely to omit other outer moments, but it's in print at least.

can't even describe the vocals, but edith piaf filtered through ye-ye girl pop fractured by grace slick x cathy berberian x the girl from side 2 of brainticket's cottonwood hill

Milton Parker, Wednesday, 6 June 2007 03:29 (ten years ago) Permalink

we need more translations fast, my french is horrible but I can understand enough to realize that these are great lyrics

"Peace to he who screams because he sees clearly.
Peace to he who searches, striking his head against concrete walls."

Milton Parker, Wednesday, 6 June 2007 03:30 (ten years ago) Permalink

I liked the "Nico fronting Pink Floyd" description...

dan selzer, Wednesday, 6 June 2007 04:23 (ten years ago) Permalink

"Un Regard Clair (Obscur)" from La petite fille aux fraises is playing on the tingly road to heaven

Good choice. Overall that my fave album (and "La Petite Fille Aux Fraises" from the same album fulfills the "Nico fronting Pink Floyd" phrase)

Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 6 June 2007 05:47 (ten years ago) Permalink

I've been sitting on the Mutant Sounds mp3s but the couple of ones I heard were pretty sharp. Did she have any reputation (English/American sphere) at all before the MS posts?

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 6 June 2007 05:58 (ten years ago) Permalink

I don't think she had any sort of international reputation (except perhaps mention in the NWW list?) though she stared in one of Godards lesser early films "The Riflemen" , WFMU had a small post about her on their blog aswell (along as on the amazing Colette Magny, whose early 1970's albums with Barre Phillips etc. every should check out, especially Repression. Amazing!)

Mutant Sounds: 04/catherine-ribeiro-alpes-le-rat-debile.html

Jarrod Zlatic, Wednesday, 6 June 2007 06:37 (ten years ago) Permalink

uh... i don't know the definition of "reputation" but there are plenty of people who knew she existed before WFMU or mutant sounds posted about her, dudes. first time i heard paix was maybe 4-5 years ago courtesy of greg weeks, i think.

GOTT PUNCH II HAWKWINDZ, Wednesday, 6 June 2007 07:03 (ten years ago) Permalink

yeah, she's one the NWW list, which means a goodly amount of people have salivated over her for years. those spalax reissues weren't too hard to find until the past few years.

oo, Wednesday, 6 June 2007 16:16 (ten years ago) Permalink

CD reissues were on Mantra, not Spalax. so barebones but at least legit. strange that CR/2bis and No. 2 never got the same treatment.

Mr. Hal Jam, Wednesday, 6 June 2007 17:49 (ten years ago) Permalink

many people knew about her, for years, the problem was access. and the two that never made it to CD, 2Bis and No. 2 -- those are the two furthest out, planted closer to Patty Waters' "Black is the Color of my True Love's Hair" than any Nico (these are only signposts, she really does sound unique).

I see why Paix is usually spotted as the big one (especially since the first two weren't as available) but it's the first two that sold me, they are intensely passionate & incredible records. later stuff is just as beautiful but not quite as eighteen times an hour.

Milton Parker, Wednesday, 6 June 2007 18:20 (ten years ago) Permalink

right, they were on Mantra (similar to Spalax low-level build quality), which makes sense as to why we haven't seen any repress of them. need to revisit those first two.

another good, somewhat overlooked Mantra disc is the Barney Wilen "Moshi' album

oo, Wednesday, 6 June 2007 18:27 (ten years ago) Permalink

what say ye about Patrice Moullet's Alpes sans Ribeiro albums? i remember Rock Sous La Dalle consisting of pretty cool ambi-tectural instrumentals. very composed, with much layering of Moullet's custom instruments. Pierre Bastien and Limpe Fuchs come to mind as possible points of reference. is En Attendant Noe more of the same?

Mr. Hal Jam, Wednesday, 6 June 2007 20:23 (ten years ago) Permalink

those are very intriguing points of reference. all I've heard are the mp3's up at his site, and they sounded technically accomplished but not as sonically interesting as the early records -- jazzy techno fusion. the pictures of his instruments are wonderful though, new desktop wallpaper.

the cover of 2Bis has a logo on the left that says 'POP FREE'

Milton Parker, Thursday, 7 June 2007 19:08 (ten years ago) Permalink

FE dismisses the solo Moullet's as "prog-derived minimalist compositions, not abstract experimentalism." snort. but the uncredited GEPR blurb is much more enthusiastic. iirc, the truth lies somewhere between. at least for RSLD, which is much more polished but nowhere nearly as sonically adventurous as those amazing early Alpes/Ribeiro recordings.

Mr. Hal Jam, Thursday, 7 June 2007 19:22 (ten years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

I'm still buying other records but every time i try to listen to any of them I just put on 2bis, No. 2 or Ame Debout again, and again, she's going to end up being how I remember 2007

you have to wonder if Catherine RInger had any of these records in her collection growing up. you can hear it in Rita Mitsouko songs like 'Galloping'.

Milton Parker, Wednesday, 27 June 2007 23:00 (ten years ago) Permalink

what are your feelings about the theatrical laughter that's in the 2bis songs? for me, it sours them. i don't know what she's singing about, but that laugh doesn't let me know it's anything i care about.

oo, Thursday, 28 June 2007 00:46 (ten years ago) Permalink

I can see what you mean -- for me, these songs are in a cabaret tradition where the exact same 'demented laugh' or weird noise is called for at the exact same point, usually the punctuation at the end of a verse and if you're coming at this expecting 100% genuine demented freakout, you'll hear more than a tiny bit of artiface in her delivery. if they played these songs live, she'd obviously execute exactly the same noises in exactly the same places, far more like Cathy Berberian than Patty Waters or Joan LaBarbara or any other performer who records their free improvs. and on the 20 minute tracks where Ribeiro does tend towards free improv a bit more, her voice isn't exactly fluid or supple when she does some of the warbly low or screechy high sections, I've heard singers who are technically 'better' -- she can sound ridiculous even, but she does sound free and I believe her, there's something in the attitude here that absolutely works for me.

mainly though there's so much more going on here than just the freakouts, there's just as much beautifully composed and sung chanson as there is burning-brain-psychedelia and it's the balance between them that makes these first three albums.

these glitchy vinyl-ripped mp3's are not going to cut it, these need reissues, these records are fucking important

Milton Parker, Thursday, 28 June 2007 18:53 (ten years ago) Permalink

i listened to my first of her albums last night, Paix. very beautiful. way less freaky than i was expecting. i didn't hear any Patty Waters. what i heard was Franco Battiato, Lucio Battisti, Annette Peacock. tiny bit of Tim Buckley. i'm definitely interested in hearing more.

the first song definitely was very glitchy. was that the song (i'm assuming not since it ended after a minute and i never heard it again) or intentional?

jaxon, Thursday, 28 June 2007 19:24 (ten years ago) Permalink

had a conversation with Christina Carter about Ribeiro before a recent Charalambides show. she denied Catherine as an overt influence on her own music, admitting that she's an "indirect influence, if that." she then proceeded to belt out a piece, to Tom's guitar accompaniment, that could have been slipped onto either side of Ame Debout or Paix without raising eyebrows. hmm.

Mr. Hal Jam, Thursday, 28 June 2007 19:30 (ten years ago) Permalink


Paix and Le Rat débile et l'homme des champs are already less freaky than the ones I've been going on about, and they're great. If you find the earlier vocals contrived, you might prefer the laters. The people you name are pretty good compass points as well.

the Mutant Sounds mp3's are all pretty noisy, and some of them were badly mistagged -- when I retagged them myself using this site it seemed like they were complete. the rips for ame debout are particularly messed up, but at least they exist

Milton Parker, Thursday, 28 June 2007 19:34 (ten years ago) Permalink

i lied. i listed to Ame Debout, not Paix. that's the one w/the first track totally jacked w/glitches.

i'll listen to Paix soon.

jaxon, Friday, 29 June 2007 01:59 (ten years ago) Permalink

I just got the Le Rat Debile. First album I've checked out. Really fantastic stuff. She kinda reminds me of Grace Slick, actually. And the oscillating percussion and organ of the first track on side 1 and at the start of side 2 almost have the groove of some of Nino Nardini/Roger Roger's library stuff. Or until the drums and the organ come in. Some bits also kind of remind me of Bo Hansson.

gnarly sceptre, Saturday, 30 June 2007 13:47 (ten years ago) Permalink

one copy of ame debout for a not-unreasonable price, to get rid of those glitches. this guy actually has tons of overlooked gems in his for sale section. Robert Haigh "Waltz in Plain C" was the one I went for!

oo, Tuesday, 3 July 2007 23:58 (ten years ago) Permalink

that was fast.

oo, Wednesday, 4 July 2007 00:52 (ten years ago) Permalink

has anyone heard the 1980 album w/ alpes called La Deboussolle? it has a re-recording of "paix" (the song). these records keep popping up on ebay...

creme1, Thursday, 12 July 2007 18:49 (ten years ago) Permalink

I bought the 4CD longbox compiling 65-83

Box is wonderful, tons of great photos, unfortunately for me all liner notes are in French. First half of disc 1 has 12 songs from the mid-60's Ye-Ye Girl pop stuff, catchy uptempo, music sounds much like typical Ye-Ye Francois Hardy / Sylvie Vartan / the first Nico 7". very chipper and pretty. it is a total shock when it switches from the early singles to the first song on the 2bis album.

disc 3 compiles the next three original albums after Le Rat Debile -- still pretty spaced out -- sounds like I want to hear the rest of Libertiés and Le Temps de l'autre, where the band still sounds much like they do on Le Rat Debile.

on 1979's Passions they add the sax, fretless bass & jazz violin & start sounding like professional 80's jazz fusion. Which might be where a whole different audience gained interest, if you love those Jean-Luc Ponty records... her melodies & voice still outstanding but the backing musical style has shifted so much towards the average it begins to throw me. Musicianship outstanding on a technical level but no longer even remotely distinctive.

disc 4 has five tracks from La Deboussolle (the re-recording of "Paix" isn't one of them), in which crisp 80's drum production & the fretless bass become the loudest things in the mix. Some of the songwriting is strong enough, but so hard to take the backing music. I do like the 1982 song she co-wrote with Peter Gabriel "Dans le creux de ta nuit", non-fusoid anthem led by piano & odd synth.

the later stuff is so commercial I can now see why the early stuff stayed out of print -- like the Scritti Politti singles or the early Battiato albums, when an artist eventually breaks the pop charts it becomes difficult for a major to commit or even out-license the early mutant albums

Milton Parker, Thursday, 12 July 2007 20:51 (ten years ago) Permalink

three months pass...

So I search the archives to see who might have discussed this album I have just downloaded, Catherine Ribeiro and 2Bis. Nothing much to say so far, except that on first listen I mostly like this.

Rockist Scientist, Friday, 26 October 2007 14:17 (ten years ago) Permalink

I can't stop listening to her. especially the first two.

a lot of people have walked up to me and in hushed or screaming tones said 'my god have you heard catherine', thanks to Internet this has kind of turned out to be her year -- I wonder if she knows what's happening

Milton Parker, Friday, 26 October 2007 18:46 (ten years ago) Permalink

eleven months pass...

Hey look, the back cover of the gatefold vinyl has a lyric sheet

Milton Parker, Saturday, 4 October 2008 03:55 (nine years ago) Permalink

Jusqu'à ce que la force de t'aimer me manque
(musique et paroles de Patrice Moullet)

Je voudrais pouvoir t'aimer deux ans, trois ans, dix ans
T'aimer jusqu'à ce que la force de t'aimer me manque
Que le bonheur de t'aimer s'estompe,
Afin que je puisse aimer
Quelqu'un d'autre que toi
Quelqu'autre chose que toi.

Aimer de nouveau, sans cesse
Aimer comme je t'aime en ce moment
La frustration de ta présence
Malgré l'absence.
Douloureuse souffrance inutile
Et pourtant, combien nécessaire
Vitale à nos esprits de fous.

Quel gâchis que ce tant d'amour versé à d'autres que
Mais, peut-être... quelle superbe résurrection de la vie.

Milton Parker, Saturday, 4 October 2008 04:00 (nine years ago) Permalink

(Musique de Patrice Moullet - Paroles de Catherine Ribeiro)

Paix à celui qui hurle parce qu'il voit clair
Paix à nos esprits malades, à nos cœurs éclatés
Paix à nos membres fatigués, déchirés
Paix à nos générations dégénérées
Paix aux grandes confusions de la misére
Paix à celui qui cherche en se frappant la tête contre
[des murs de béton
Paix au courroux de l'homme qui a faim
Paix à la haine, á la rage des opprimés
Paix à celui qui travaille de ses mains
Paix à cette nature qui nous a toujours donné le
meilleur d'elle-même et dont chaque homme quel
[qu'il soit a besoin
Paix à nos ventres - grands réservoirs de poubelles
Paix à vous mes amis, dont la tendresse m'est une
Paix et respect de la vie de chacun
Paix à la fascination du feu, paix au lever du jour á la
[tombée de la nuit
Paix à celui qui marche sur les routes jusqu'aux
[horizons sans fin
Paix au cheval de labour
Paix aux âmes mal-nées qui enfantent des cauchemars
Paix aux rivières, aux mers, aux océans qui accouchent
[de poissons luisants de gas-oil
Paix à toi ma mère, dont le sourire douloureux s'efface
[auprès de tes enfants
Paix enfin à celui qui n'est plus et qui toute sa vie a
trimé attendant des jours meilleurs.

Milton Parker, Saturday, 4 October 2008 04:08 (nine years ago) Permalink

gin or vodka?

Dominique, Saturday, 4 October 2008 04:19 (nine years ago) Permalink

ha ha, Ouzo

Milton Parker, Saturday, 4 October 2008 04:29 (nine years ago) Permalink

Un jour... la mort
Musique de Patrice Moullet - Paroles de Catherine Ribeiro

Un jour, la Mort, cette grande femme démoniaque
M'invita dans sa fantastique demeure
Depuis longtemps elle me guettait, m'épiait
Usant de ses dons, de ses charmes magiques
Elle cambrait sa croupe féline
Fermait á demi ses paupières lourdes de sommeil
Au-delà desquelles brillaient deux yeux de guet-apens
Le souffle court, les lèvres entrouvertes
Elle murmurait : viens chez moi, viens, viens,
Approche, viens t'enrouler dans mon repos
Mon repos - repos - repos - l'éternel repos.
Alors, coupant mon emblème-cordon-ombilical
J'absorbais trois tubes de somnifère réparateur.
Ainsi commença le tourbillon de la décadence
Semblable à celui de la terre qui me portait
Les gouvernements-tueurs étaient toujours en place
Le napalm brûlait nos maisons et nos champs
Les riches s'éclataient devant les classes laborieuses
Partout ce n'était que tumulte, cris de guerre
Je courais, cherchant à protéger les enfants
Les enfants, merde, pourquoi faire des enfants
Les écoles maternelles sautaient à la dynamite
Les châteaux de cartes espagnois s'écroulaient
Victims de malformations congénitales
Seuls, restaient debout, victorieux
Les Elysées, les Maisons-Blanches, les Kremlins
Les crèmes caramel, les crémes au chocolat -
Dites-moi la Mort, Chère femme, Belle Mort
Vous me serrez d'un peu trop près, trop fort
Je ne suis pas vraiment lesbienne, savez-vous?
Vos bras qui m'encerclent gênent ma respiration
Votre parfum me donne la nausée -
Dites-moi la Mort, Chére femme, Belle Mort
De ce côte-ci de l'au-delà
Où se trouve le chemin de l'Amour -
Sur terre, je refusais le mensonge, la vanité d'Étre
Ici, les dactylographes tapent sur des bongos
D'horribles rythmes qui foudroient mes entrailles -
Dites-moi la Mort, Chère femme, Belle Mort
Renvoyez-moi de ce côté-là de la Vie
Je voudrais connaitre l'amour de Pierre-le-Récalcitrant
J'ai encore besoin de donner et de recevoir
J'ai besoin de me battre pour un autre monde
Je veux connaitre l'An 01 dont parlaient nos amis
Je veux encore monter des bonshommes de neige
En hiver, sur les toits blancs des usines
Je veux faire sauter les autoroutes
Et me promener dans les hautes herbes des campagnes
Je veux embrasser les garçons et les filles
A pleine bouche, baiser leurs lèvres chaudes
Je veux m'enivrer de la salive de mon amour
Je veux aimer et mourir de mort-Naturelle
Comme tout le monde, les deux pieds dans mes sabots -
Redonnez-moi la Vie, la Mort, Belle Mort
Et je vous ferai un enfant

Milton Parker, Saturday, 4 October 2008 04:29 (nine years ago) Permalink

inside gatefold image: collage made from image of a sudzy woman bathing in a barrel answering a telephone mounted on the side of the barrel, looking over her shoulder at a grainy shot of a vietanemese mother wading through a muddy river with her children

'combien de temps encore pourrons-nous ajourner l'inevitable?' - Henry Miller, Le temps des assassins

Milton Parker, Saturday, 4 October 2008 04:33 (nine years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

Still no news of any Ribeiro reissues? Shameful!

Webern conducts Berg (Call the Cops), Monday, 22 March 2010 15:40 (seven years ago) Permalink

I kinda got the impression the old reissues (on Spalax) sat around for a loooong time, they're probably not in a hurry to reissue them again? If they're still in business.

John Disk & The Fetus People (GOTT PUNCH II HAWKWINDZ), Monday, 22 March 2010 16:23 (seven years ago) Permalink

reissues were on Mantra. but, yeah, doubt it's a high priority for them.

Mr. Hal Jam, Monday, 22 March 2010 19:18 (seven years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

Milton Parker, Saturday, 7 January 2012 03:10 (six years ago) Permalink

thanks for that@

one dis leads to another (ian), Monday, 9 January 2012 21:34 (six years ago) Permalink

been seeing this video linked a lot lately on FB and other places (not that i mind)

donna rouge, Monday, 9 January 2012 21:43 (six years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

Box looks good. Shame not to have '2bis' on there.

How are those live sets? What dates?

Milton Parker, Monday, 9 April 2012 15:55 (five years ago) Permalink

I have me some:

Catherine RIBEIRO & Alpes -- 'Pop Club' 1972-74 (FM)
Catherine Ribeiro & Alpes - Paris 1973-05-28 (FM)
Catherine Ribeiro & Alpes - La Courneuve 1973-09-09 (aud)

All worth hearing I guess, but Paris takes the cake by some way.

Lil' Kim Philby (Call the Cops), Tuesday, 10 April 2012 18:27 (five years ago) Permalink

Think those are the same dates. Not listened to them in a while, meant to over the weekend but didn't get around to it.

From what I recall they were pretty good though.

Stevolende, Tuesday, 10 April 2012 20:52 (five years ago) Permalink

six months pass...

Catherine Ribeiro & Alpes - Paris 1972-02-03 (fm)


Catherine Ribeiro & Alpes - Paris 1973-05-28 (fm)

are up again on D!me, but I see that people are already clued in above. I'm excited to hear these!

sleeve, Friday, 26 October 2012 23:48 (five years ago) Permalink

you know what I'd never heard before last month?

non-album 7" from 1970, released around the time of 'No. 2'

she wastes no time

Milton Parker, Friday, 26 October 2012 23:56 (five years ago) Permalink

There were another load of CR + Alpes sets upped to Dime over the last week. Mainly from 76-77 though. Plus reseeds of the '72-73 stuff.
Haven't heard the late 70s stuff yet though.

Stevolende, Saturday, 27 October 2012 19:55 (five years ago) Permalink

I was a but disappointed by the box set since it came out very quiet & left me hoping it might spark interest from Esoteric or somebody.
Good to have the lps though.

I thought I'd posted here after getting the box. But doesn't look like it, just on the lead up to. Wound up getting it through only time I've used that branch.

Stevolende, Saturday, 27 October 2012 19:58 (five years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

From French television in 1972

Elvis Telecom, Tuesday, 31 December 2013 22:35 (four years ago) Permalink

closeup of the guitar percuphone @ 4:20. such a crazy invention it really helps to see it -- turns any guitar into an acoustic sequencer / arpeggiator. one of the things I love the most about their albums is that while the initial impact of their sound is psych / freeform, it's all being held doiwn by those relentless, driving plucked metric 8th notes, it is total techno

version of 'alpes 1' from ame debout in that video is not the album version at all, hope someone can liberate the full length version of that someday

Milton Parker, Tuesday, 31 December 2013 22:52 (four years ago) Permalink

yeah man that is an amazing fragment of 'alpes 1'. percuphone mixed way loud so you can hear (and watch) changing the chords / hitting different harmonics in tandem with the organ player. percuphone was frequently mixed way too low on the records, probably because it's so relentless but man it's nice and loud in these clips.

I did end up buying that box of the first four Alpes records. Mini sleeves are wonderful and sound is good. If it had the 2bis album it'd be perfect.

Milton Parker, Tuesday, 31 December 2013 23:02 (four years ago) Permalink

Wow, great find! Still not sure what exactly the percuphone is and how it works though, even after seeing it! It is to Alpes what the electric jug is to the 13th Floor Elevators.

Eats like Elvis, shits like De Niro (Tom D.), Thursday, 2 January 2014 16:00 (four years ago) Permalink

Still not sure what exactly the percuphone is and how it works though

Glad I'm not the only one.

_Rudipherous_, Thursday, 2 January 2014 16:10 (four years ago) Permalink

the initial impact of their sound is psych / freeform, it's all being held doiwn by those relentless, driving plucked metric 8th notes, it is total techno

Thanks MP for crystalizing why I'm obsessed with this band's sound

bendy, Thursday, 2 January 2014 16:37 (four years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

first time the 2bis album has been released on cd?

also been noticing some recent lp reissues of the alpes albums, though not sure how legit they are.

no lime tangier, Sunday, 8 May 2016 19:53 (one year ago) Permalink

i think maybe it was on CD in Japan? (as everything seems to be)

i had kind of forgotten about these records. they are great. i will listen to them again today.

wizzz! (amateurist), Sunday, 8 May 2016 20:01 (one year ago) Permalink

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