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Vidéo-Aventures

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Not so much a band as a side project supergroup comprised of some of the leading figures of the late-’70s/early-’80s French avant-garde, Video Aventures was a loosely defined collective under the leadership of musician, artist, and author Dominique Grimaud, whose first band, Camisole, had been a synthesizer duo somewhat like a French response to Cluster. Video Aventures was a much less clinical affair, with spontaneous improvisation and collaborative musicianship the guiding principles. Influences ranging from Karlheinz Stockhausen to Captain Beefheart can be glimpsed in the dazzlingly eclectic music, but overall, Video Aventures falls into the amorphously defined Rock in Opposition movement of their time.

Membership in the group shifted from performance to performance, but besides Grimaud, fellow synthesizer maestro Monique Alba and multi-instrumentalist/producer Gilbert Artman (the leader of Lard Free, an instrumental ensemble much beloved in art rock circles) were mainstays. Steel guitarist Cyril Lefebvre, guitarist and keyboardist Jean Pierre Grasset, and drummer Guigou Chenevier (of the seminal French Rock in Opposition band Etron Fou Leloublan) also appear on the group’s first recording, 1980’s Musiques pour Garcons et Filles; trumpeter Jac Berrocal of the avant-jazz group Catalogue and singer and electric pianist Sophie Jausserand joined them for the follow-up, 1984’s Camera (In Focus). Both albums were originally released by ex-Henry Cow drummer Chris Cutler’s Recommended Records; Artman’s Spalax label reissued both on CD in 1997, adding ten previously unreleased performances ranging from the group’s first rehearsals in 1979 to their final session in 1984.

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