124CD - Carla Diratz & the Archers of Sorrow - The Scale - CD plus download

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Description

The extraordinary, powerful and characterful French singer Carla Diratz (described by none other than Robert Wyatt as "the soulful Ms Diratz") collaborates here with composers Martin Archer and Nick Robinson to deliver an extremely diverse set which runs from out and out prog through avant-rock to improv, electronic collage and modernist chanson - "Improg" is the name we've given to this mixed up school of music. Lyrics sung in English, French and Italian ultimately present a very personal view of the world, with some nostalgia for the past but ultimately hope in the unconquerable spirit of the next generation. The band is completed by upcoming trumpet star Charlotte Keeffe and the crack rhythm section who first came together onstage as part of Archer's Anthropology Band.

 

Carla Diratz - vocal
Martin Archer - saxophones, keyboards, electronics
Nick Robinson - guitars
Dave Sturt - bass guitar
Adam Fairclough - drums
Charlotte Keeffe - trumpet
Jan Todd - backing vocals
Julie Archer - backing vocals

Reviews

A video review by Dereck Higgins on YouTube, via this link.

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This Carla Diratz album does my head in. I’ve now had the recording several weeks, re-run it over and over on endless car journeys throughout this Covid-Winter; taken it in blocks of sound gone-midnight, the house - fridge cold, speakers shattering silence like all meditation is but memory; heard the French part-translate in the brain then fragment into Esperanto; allowed the song Mother to recall “…seven different tongues beating up like drums inside her lungs”; allowed Charlotte Keefe’s magnificent trumpet break on Merry-go-round to do away with sampling Stravinsky.  The Scale is a dark bright thing, even at this late stage it could be my album of the year.  Targeted to speak sorrow, Carla Diratz can’t help but somehow come across the senses as a valediction. You either take the weight of The Scale, feel it in the ears, give in to its great glory moments (title track, The nature of a child, Menhir et gemissements, Dove mi hai lasciata, Teen dance, Le chagrin, Desert prayer) or decide you’re not ready to be dismembered.  In which case, better pass it on to someone you really love and let them do the deed instead.  Scraps of detail:  If like me your experience of Adam Fairclough’s drumming has been that of a classy jazzbuff then this recording spins a different drummer’s story. In places the kit is laid into as if decking demons; 4/4 thunder pummelled onto the Diratz vocabulary like a second vocal. And Nick Robinson’s guitars are everywhere; slicing power chords then intricate filigree followed by ‘surf’ guitar – as much Lenny Kaye as anything coming out of fusion, often sonic yet sensuous Left Bank scratching at leftfield. As usual, Mr Archer’s own instruments are blindingly unobvious, the catalyst for continual mood swings into which Charlotte Keefe’s trumpet is both siren and sound installation.  Clearly though this is Carla Diratz’s album.  Sung in French and English, her voice, authoritative and demanding. A songbook as diverse as this one has to be given a lot of ear-time.  It re-pays with unravelling mysteries, like an orchestrated spy novel.  Big music does your head in, you have been warned. - Steve Day, December 2021 

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The releases on DISCUS MUSIC are getting more and more interesting, because for example the CD The Scale of the French singer CARLA DIRATZ and THE ARCHERS OF SORROW is a fascinating original sounding album that combines certain music styles I have not heard before actually.  Basically it combines the unique deep soulful voice of Carla with French chanson, Avant-Garde, Progressive Rock and complex Jazz, with lyrics sung in English, French and Italian, so the finished product is an impressive combination that seems to work after several times playing the album. It’s experimental at times (Dove Mi Hai Lasciata), French chanson like (Le Sang Et Les Larmes and Le Chagrin), but also progrocking (The Scale, I Am With You and Desert Prayer) and even ‘sensational’ uptempo early 70s Psychedelic Classic rocking during Teen Dance (which even reminds me a bit of JEFFERSON AIRPLANE). There’s also some complex jazz here and there, but actually there is a lot more to discover, because this long diverse album is an interesting mixture of styles, and along with the unique voice of Carla, the CD has an own identity from start to finish. Definitely a recommended album if you want to hear something really original! - Strutter'zine

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Imagine that Captain Beefheart disbanded the Magic Band straight after Trout Mask Replica and then slipped off into the desert. By some freak of nature that I can’t explain, he returns to 2021 having magically transformed into a French woman. In this new guise she captures a band of improvising musicians and imprisons them in a recording studio. They will not be released until total weirdness has been achieved. And they succeed. Fast and bulbous indeed. - feedback from a Discus Music customer.

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I'd like to expand the page so that it includes reviews, and what better way to start than with an album by one of our members ? Now this is a double album's worth (remember them ?) and as such encompasses a wealth of emotions, textures and sounds - and I hope that everyone involved will not be offended by my comparisons and reference points !  The album opens with a sparse drum beat and a bass line reminiscent of Faust, suddenly breaking out with keyboard and horns, topped by the rich, smoky voice of Carla - veering between a soft purr and impassioned growl. The lyrics are elliptical and , in keeping with the times, rather dark (the theme continues throughout the album without becoming 'depressing'). The second number surprised me, starting with sparse , dissonant piano and a vocal that begins with the smoky texture and suddenly turns into a blues / soul voice that made me think of Amy Winehouse! As the song progresses an unexpected curtain of mellotron-drenched descends (such an underused instrument these days !). Elsewhere, moments of heavily distorted guitar give way to desolate voice textures and a dark as hell melody. LOTS OF SPACE - with Carla intoning her poetry as the machines of the apocalypse draw ever closer ....  Further in, plucked strings and medieval recorders create a backdrop to sombre lyrics that at times seem to be on the edge of tears. There are shades of Henry Cow / Dagmar Krause on "La Digue" , with the scattered piano and woodwind flickering around the mix.  "The Nature Of A Child" features Carla in almost torch singer mode, the dark clouded lyrics giving way to a slow, doleful swing. "Dove mi hai lasciata" is possibly my favourite track, opening with a systemic keyboard motif a la Terry Riley. The Italian lyrics , keys and bubbling sax actually reminded me of Franco Battiato circa "Sulle Corde di Aries". Ticking percussion and washes of electronic sound brighten the picture and a little bit of sunshine comes in.......for a while.... lsewhere , Carla's voice is treated , multi tracked, backed by dense horns, keys and guitar (definitely a hint of Mike Ratledge in the organ sound) , backwards and forwards guitar and disembodied voices flit in and out of the mix. Tempos shift gear and it even gets 'heavy' for want of a better word....but here I am waxing lyrical - the only way to experience this music is to HEAR IT! One last point - beautiful sound and mixing, and remarkably, due to distance and COVID, most of the parts were recorded independently of each other, in different parts of the world...... beautiful package too.   - Mike Davies, VIRTUAL CELLULOID
 

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It's a super strutting bad-ass proggy, jazz, power chanteuse must hear. - feedback from a Discus Music customer.

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While we pray for better times, we can soothe our souls with this glorious Discus release featuring an amazing vocal performance by Carla Diratz with music by Martin Archer and Nick Robinson plus a lineup of great musicians including Charlotte Keefe on trumpet.  Carla's vocal melodies and wonderfully poetic lyrics merge with the highly original music in such a seamless way that it feels as though this band has been playing together for years. - feedback from a Discus Music customer.
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A basic drum pattern (Adam Fairclough) grounds the opening title track into a groove as French chanteuse Carla Diratz, in a deep drawl, like a gruff Annette Peacock, semi-speaks, semi-chants probing poetic lyrics with impactful interjections from guitar (Nick Robinson), sax (Mr Archer, of course!), Dave Sturt’s probing basslines and wonderful Ratledge-like keys. You start to release also that there is a compact brass section with the impressive Charlotte Keeffe adding trumpet to proceedings. The album is worth it for this alone but there is much, much more to come, first of all, in complete contrast, the calm after the storm if you will, the first of three etudes, mostly accompanied only by fragmented pianos and melodies, while Ms Diratz takes on a role which reminds me, in feeling, of the narrated passages of that great French progressive rock group Ange- it is delivered in French you see- and passionately! The chanteuse is it turns out, multi-lingual as one of many highlights ‘Dove mi hai lasciata’ confirms later. This makes marvellous use of brass, keyboards and electronics with a bit of vocal scatting thrown in, ‘I Am With You’ is another triumph, the retro organ sound and Sturt’s inventive bass providing the backdrop for a winning combination of brass and guitar. ‘The Nature of a Child’ is another particular favourite, the sultry soulfulness of Keeffe’s trumpet overture to Robinson’s guitar arpeggios leading to a nostalgic brass treatment, a perfect foil for the singer- the attention to detail and production exemplary. ‘Merry-go-Round’ indulges in the avant-garde for a little while but the music is always rooted in melody which soon emerges, very, very atmospheric with the chanteuse in fine form. ‘Teen Dance’ and ‘Desert Prayer’ are wonderfully Crimson-ish as the music exits powerfully. ‘The Scale’ has become my essential late-night headphone listen, and, in a fanciful way, wish it could be so indefinitely, but I will move on I suppose and look back fondly to one of my musical highlights of 2021. Mr Archer and his Anthropology Band have applied the term ‘Improg’ to the music- it may well catch on! – Phil Jackson, ACID DRAGON

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No God, no Adam, no Eve, no original sin.Aus welchem Mund kommt diese schaurige Verneinung? CARLA DIRATZ? Die Tochter einer armenisch-jüdisch-griechisch-italienisch-türkisch gemischten Mutter und eines französischen Fotografen hatte schon an Can und Soft Machine, Sun Ra und Pharoah Sanders geschnuppert, als sie 1978 zu singen anfing – in Strave-Utopia (w/ Serge Bringolf), Alkemia (w/ Alain Berthe & J.C. Buire) und Change als eigenem Projekt, dieseits der Jahrtausendwende mit Colin McKellar (We Free) in Baïkal und Art Ensemble de Belleville, in The OpenJazz Trio wieder mit Buire (Offering, BBI), mit Corentin Coupe als The Electric Suite, mit No White of Moon. Mit Ex-Muffins Dave Newhouse bei “Diratz” (2017) und Manna / Mirage rückt sie immer näher. “Double Dreaming” (2018) zeigt sie mit Mark Stanley, dem Gitarristen dieses New-House-Projekts, mit Pascal Vaucel, einem Gitarristen in Paris, entstand “pRéCis.AiMaNt” (2019), wo sie Robert Wyatts 'Sea Song' anstimmt. “Reflection In A Mœbius Ring Mirror” (DISCUS 83CD) von Guy Segers' Eclectic Maybe Band führte sie dann mit Dirk Wachtelaer, Catherine Smet und Michel Deville und stupendem Zeuhl-Bass-JazzProg zu Discus. Als hätte Martin Archer nur auf ihre Reibeisenstimme gewartet, formierte er THE ARCHERS OF SORROW mit Nick Robinson, dem Gitarristen von Das Rad, der Trompeterin Charlotte Keeffe, Dave Sturt (Jade Warrior, Gong) am Bass, Adam Fairclough an den Drums, ihm selber an Sax, Keys & Electronics. Damit sie zu krassem Improg, flammendem Jazzrock, schillerndem Ichweißnichtwas als Seelenschwester von Nico, Elizabeth S., Annie Anxiety wie eine Wölfin mit kreidiger Zunge The Scale (DISCUS 124CD) singt, 8 Sibyllen-Songs, dazu – pianobetropft - 'Le sang et les larmes', 'La digue' & 'Le chagrin' sowie 'Menhir et gémissements' und auf italienisch 'Dove mi hai lasciata'. Als erstes nennt sie die Menschheit eine unheilbar kranke Bande schamloser Raffer, Mordbrenner und Kettenschmiede. Der Schmerz in den Blut-, Tränen- und Flammenflüssen vergeht erst in der Asche. Doch selbst auf dem Müllberg droben erlischt die Sehnsucht nicht nach blauem Horizont, und diesem Knochenbündel kann man doch nur ein Wiegenlied summen. Denn selbst mit nur Schwarzem Meer vor Augen und einem Vulkan im Rücken kann Diratz es nicht lassen, ihre Worte als Flaschenpost schwimmen und segeln zu lassen. Bei 'Mother' sieht sie zu gepresster Trompete ihre Mutter – exiled, declassed, displaced – Tränen nach den Dardanellen vergießen. Sie besingt die Deiche, Leuchtfeuer und Gezeiten in unserem Herzen, zu bluesiger Trompete und Baritongitarre sich selbst als Mutter Erde Kind, als junges Tier not yet defined / a fox, a wolf, a wild cat, / fearless of seasons, / of wars, of treasons, als Verlassene unter zerbrochenen Säulen. No goal, no direction, no path, no soul, no heaven, no hell, aber trotz allem bassdumpfen Trott versessen auf 'nen weiteren Ritt auf dem Karussell, in rockender Wallung versessen auf Tanzen Tanzen Tanzen. Stöhnen, Lügen und Wunderworte, das Sternengewölbe verschlingt sie. Soll man den Kummer ertränken, bevor man darin ertrinkt? My weary eyes, are they molecules of an improbable oasis?Man dreht sich im Kreis, am Nasenring von Nostalgie und Fata Morganas. Großes Pathos, durch grandiose Musik mit gehörigem Biss und phantastischen Kontrasten von Baritonsax und akustischer Gitarre, schnoddriger Trompete und fräsendem Gitarrenzahn. Vor allem 'Menhir' zieht da alle Register, und Diratz performt das mit artaudscher Groteske und Werwolfgrazie, sollen die Bilitis-Elfen nur kichern. Bei 'Desert prayer' röhren zuletzt nochmal alle Rohre, wenn schon wasted undweary, dann in Galopp, Keeffe schmettert, Archer pustet Bariton, jubiliert Soprano, Milch und Honig, wir kommen! - BAD ALCHEMY

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The songs touch upon a diversity of styles reflecting the range of Diratz’. ‘Le sang et les larmes’is a chanson. ‘I am with you’ is more like a pop song. ’La digue’ is a very silenced piece of voice and just piano. ‘Dove mi hai lasciata’ is a melodic song. ‘Menhir er gémissements’ is an experimental work spaced with noisy elements. ‘Merry-go-round’ round’ starts with a long and highly improvised opening section with an impressive trumpet work Charlotte Keefe before it continues with a slow beat. In each song we have the characteristic throaty and lived voice of Diratz singing powerfully in French, Italian or English. An original voice! - Dolf Mulder, VITAL WEEKLY  http://www.vitalweekly.net/1314.html

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She lives in Sicily in the center of a crater where her roaring voice resonates. His voice, lava stone. She lives in Sicily a few stables from Naples. She walks around monstrous volcanoes, Vesuve and Stromboli. Looks like a lone mermaid guiding Odyssey ships to unlikely creeks. The sun is burning. The Mediterranean Sea is dying. And still the lava that cuts and glows at the bottom of the boiler. One day or another, there will be this apocalypse explosion. Carla's songs describe the world after, petrified. Loving this atmospheric pro-rock hybrid jazz. I find Robert Wyatt's tutelary shadow but also the aerial echoes of Simon Raymonde, former bassist of Cocteau Twins and creator of the Bella Union label. Sometimes Carla chants her texts in French the Nougaro way. She rubs the French language, she shakes it. Dang this needs to pulse. Otherwise, I am an unconditional fan of The Nature of a Child. Maybe it's because Carla is talking about her childhood or because of the lynching atmosphere of music. It's a no filter album that reveals its nuggets as we listen to it again. A beautiful starry screen that captures all the memories. - Carl Sonnenfeld
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It is indeed soulful, grown up music for grown up times - Dave Larder https://www.laamb.co.uk/ 

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As an experienced music listener (I am rarely surprised as this point, let alone enthralled with new recordings), I think I was initially not expecting to be as delighted as I was with a CD I recently got from Discus Music. If this is any indication of what the label is putting out, I'd buy other recordings without much hesitation. Carla Diratz and The Archers Of Sorrow / The Scale is a great record. It's great on a number of levels and not only demands repeated listening. It is not the sort of recording that one expects to get pleasures from just once and move on. There are a large amount of intricate and sonically remarkable ideas going on at once in this record. Yet I never felt pressured and overwhelmed. That may be because as dense as the ideas are, they don't crush the listener into submission. It's as enjoyable and intense an experience as anyone into this type of music can expect. So exactly what type of music is this ? That's complicated to say... It's improvised, it's structured. It's risk taking and yet confident. It contains elements, of jazz, electronics, alternative rock, modern 20th & 21st century classical singer songwriter, "ambient" musics...it's eclectic. Surprisingly, this sounds challenging on paper but translate on record to a lot of fun and enjoyment. What holds it together is not only the sonic quality of the recording which is practically audiophile in its details (pianissimo pages, harmonic structures and many nuances of electronic sounds come across as clear and detailed but surprising arranged and recorded without a hint of chaos !) It's got a lot of breathing room despite the diversity of sounds. The other major component that makes each piece hold together is Carla Diratz' vocals. They are intense and emotionally insistent. They are fully able to breath life into lyrics that are equally intense and almost gestural. It's poetry that can be spoken and sung -which is something that Carla does without a touch of excess.  The voice is both strong, and demanding, enthralling and intelligent. It exudes a sense of having lived life fully and does so without any self consciousness . It's full of taste and complex like a good wine that's aged. This is by no means an easy feat to accomplish. Yet she does, over and over in each song. The writing is both open to interpretation as are her vocals. The listener is always wondering- can she continue to pull off the commitment to strength and emotion that is called for on each piece. The answer is-yes. The music by Martin Archer on keyboards and wind instruments and by Nick Robinson on guitars, loop and additional electronics is masterfully performed and fits the moods of the vocals (which are sung , whispered and voiced in a multitude of patterns in French, English and Italian) and writing each and every time. Additional vocal treatments, trumpet, drums and bass also appear and never distract from the music. It's always somehow cohesive. That such a recording was actually put together from six different studio situations and still sounds natural is something almost astonishing. Archer and Robinson obviously know how to not only compose and arrange each piece but produce a consistent whole out of many disparate parts. All in all this is a record to enjoy and delight in. It's also beautifully packaged and effectively designed and as an extra treat includes the work of painter Iris Terdjiman on the CD booklet with very readable texts inside written by Diratz in English, French and Italian. I recommend this record highly. - Robert Levy, FB post
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La cantante francese Carla Diratz (descritta da Robert Wyatt come “the soulful Ms Diratz”) pubblica l’album ‘The Scale’, svelando all’ascoltatore un set che dispiega un’interessante varietà di stili canori, dal brano rock al set improvvisativo, all’elettronica all’improvvisazione “stilosa”, alla canzone moderna con rimandi “faithfulliani”. La Diratz canta le canzoni in inglese, francese e italiano, in un fare che può rimandare a Diamanda Galas, e si fa accompagnare da Martin Archer al sax alle tastiere, e agli effetti, e Nick Robinson alla chitarra, Charlotte Keeffe alla tromba, e la restante parte della Archer Anthropology Band, cioè Dave Sturt al basso, Adam Fairclough alla batteria, Jan Todd e Julie Archer alle voci. Il disco è ben suonato, la band si amalgama bene con la Diratz che regge il gioco e si diletta a cantare con un pizzico di “nostalgia canaglia” senza stancare. Ascoltatela, non vi annoierete. - Marco Paolucci KATHODIK https://www.kathodik.org/
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____________________9 track album