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Junk

A 10 track indie pop album (42m 21s) — released March 22nd 2024 on Wewantsounds

Wewantsounds continues to explore the fascinating vaults of French producer Ramuntcho Matta, with the reissue of Brion Gysin's cult album released in France in 1985 on the French label Mosquito and never reissued on vinyl since (it later made a brief appearance on CD in 1991 on Crammed's Made to Measure CD Series).

Brion Gysin is one of the giants of 20th century's counter culture along with his friend William Burroughs. Born in England of Canadian parents, Gysin moved to Tangier in Morocco in the 50s where, among other things, Paul Bowles introduced him to the Master Musicians of Jajouka (Gysin wrote the liner notes for the 1971 album "Brian Jones Presents The Pipes of Pan at Joujouka"). He then settled in Paris in the late 50s where he was joined by Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and a cohort of other Beat poets and started innovating with his cut-up technique of writing, along with other literary experiments. Some of the first Permutation Poems he wrote at that time were "Junk Is No Good Baby" and "Kick That Habit Man" which are present on this album. Experimenting with literature, music (through a long-standing collaboration with sax player Steve Lacy) and painting, Gysin became a huge influence to a younger generation of musicians like David Bowie, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson and Genesis P-Orridge

In Paris, Gysin had used Ramuntcho Matta as his aide in the mid 70s while the latter was still in high school and the two became fast friends. After Matta came back from a two year spell in New York working in Laurie Anderson's studio in the aftermath of his brother's death, (New York artist Gordon Matta-Clark), they decided to record a few songs putting music on some of Gysin's most famous poems. Matta brought over some of his friends including bassist Yann Le Ker, from cult French post-punk group Modern Guy, drummer Fred Cousseau from the no-less cult group Suicide Romeo, plus his then girlfriend Elli Medeiros (who'd made a name for herself a few years earlier in France with Stinky Toys and then Elli & Jacno ), plus Don Cherry, Lizzy Mercier Descloux, Caroline Loeb and Senegalese drummer Abdoulaye Prosper Niang from the legendary group Xalam.

The result is a brilliant mix of New York Funk ("Sham Pain"), Fourth World grooves ("Kick"), with shades of Post Punk and Dub, showcasing Matta's wild creativity and Big Apple influences, all perfectly blending with Gysin's cutting edge yet humourous poetry delivered in his unique style with such memorable tag lines as "Nicotine is mean" (in "Stop Smoking") or "Sham Pain, Should We Do It Again." As Weiss writes in the informative liner notes "Like Brion who frequented (famed Paris club) Le Palace, Matta was familiar with various clubs and alternative spaces, and he cultivated a growing array of musicians to collaborate on his projects."

We've dug through Ramuntcho's vaults to add a few unissued gems to the original LP (which consisted of one LP side in fact): two unissued takes of "Kick" in its single version (one, the instrumental version and the other featuring an alternate mix) plus three tracks making their LP debut: an alternate take of "Stop Smoking," plus "V.V.V." featuring French it Girls Lizzy Mercier Descloux and Caroline Loeb and a fascinating acoustic rendition of "All Those Years" sung by Ramuntcho Matta.

All in all, "Junk" is a unique time capsule documenting some of the most cutting-edge music produced in Paris in the 80s, led by Gysin's flamboyant personality and Matta's daring music, which Wewantsounds is delighted to bring back on vinyl four decades on.

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