Procedentes de Suiza, L’Ensemble Ray√© es una banda de culto, afable y exc√©ntrica, que hunde sus raices en el avant-prog europeo de los 70 y 80.
Th√©√Ętre de la Poudri√®re collects about 40 short pieces spread chronologically across two discs, recorded to 1987 onward for various theater and modern dance productions. Here the material is far more varied, contrasted with upbeat and somewhat darker moments, and often veers directly into avant-garde territory. All over the map, really, and involved pretty much the same group of composers and players as Contrepoints. Without knowledge of the productions these tracks accompanied, one is left to accept them on their own terms, music only, and as such they stand up very well. Overall it's an enjoyable 18 year journey with a lot of variety, challenges and unusual twists and turns, though for the newcomer to Ray√© this writer would have to say this would probaly be better appreciated after savoring one or more of their "regular" albums like Contrepoints or the earlier En Frac!
(Peter Thelen, Expos√©, sept 2005, USA)
L'Ensemble Ray√© has over the course of numerous releases developed a unique approach that is at once fun, accessible, and completely unpredictable, covering a wide (I mean a really wide) spectrum of instrumental styles (elements of jazz, classical, chamber, folk, country, Hawaiian and a lot more), all mixed together in unique ways that will boggle the mind, while staying away from certain ones that would allow them to be pigeonholed in any way. Additionally, everything is played so exceptionally well and superbly produced that their music is truly in a category of its own, utilizing every kind of instrumentation and approach imaginable. On the fourteen tracks of Les Contrepoints Cardinaux, the band's two main "guitarists" (actually two very diverse instrumentalists who play anything with strings or key) C√©dric Vuille and Jean20 Huguenin trade off most of the compositions, with a couple by woodwind player Pierre Kaufmann, an arrangement of Satie piece, and a Robert Wyatt cover Left on Man. Numerous other players figure into the sound as well, on piano, accordion, drums, additional guitars, violin, trumpet, etc. etc. Some tracks are neary solo pieces, while others feature various subsets of musicians, as required to achieve whatever and they are aiming for. This one is truly impossible to categorize, but one you'll want to keep listening to again and again. Exceptional!
Expos√©, sept 2005, USA