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The Futura Label: Pierre Favre

Focusing narrowly on a specific instrument, sticking with it and working up a solo display of some variety isn’t the most far fetched goal a player can have. When that player’s a drummer, though, it might seem a bit odd to folks. That being said, the reason record labels that deal with bizarre recordings generally disappear after a time is that creating a document that no other business person would be willing to shell out cash for doesn’t usually make money. ‘Natch.

But thankfully, the Futura label lasted long enough to create a substantial discography, a relatively varied one at that. And while there aren’t too many folks who’d either like to create or listen to an album’s worth of drum solos, Futura released one in1972 as recorded by Pierre Favre.

Much like that entire cohort of post war jazzbos who would at one time or another find themselves accompanying a bevy of American players, Favre hasn’t really become a huge figure outside of his native country. Of course, anyone being a fan of the guy’s music is kinda startling at this point.

Either way, that early seventies’ disc, simply entitled Abanaba comprises eight tracks and includes everything from gong to bells, a full set and crashing cymbals. Not palatable to most folks, the forty minutes of percussion work should be startling to anyone who hears it. And yeah, it won’t be too many people.

Opening Abanaba with a song about a clown and then moving into a surprisingly melodic composition called “Katybaby” immediately shows off Favre’s unmatchable talent. He’s no Ginger Baker, but he could be, it seems, if he wanted to be.

There’s nothing represented here approaching funky or rhythmic in any traditional understanding of pop and dance musics. But Favre doesn’t need those restrictions in order to rave up a good racket.

It’s difficult to summon sounds recalling a specific country if one’s only tools are a spate of drums and stray percussion instruments. But there’s no way a listener can make it through “Gerunonius” and not at least think about China for a brief moment. That’s not to figure the track for some cultural appropriation, but the gong goes a long way.

Considering the instrumentation used here, it’d be difficult to figure a track as the disc’s high point. It’s not that much of Abanaba sounds the same, but since there’s no melody to follow, making it end to end becomes a bit difficult.