Jac Berrocal

Boîte Boîte

Akuphone • 2024

A gifted trumpeter, improviser and composer, he has been at home in French underground avant-garde circles since the 1970s: Jac Berrocal. His most recent release, »Boîte Boîte«, is not only a daring expedition into the depths of his musical repertoire, but also a wild intercontinental journey that deals with serious social critical issues.

It begins with an intense, helicopter-like sound on the song »Goum«, which tells the story of a French-North African colonial soldier. Then »Fruh in Berlin« confronts you with 46 seconds of shrill screeching railway tracks, and »Zwischen Shaan Und Bender« surprises you with a screaming police siren that gives way to a jazzy trumpet solo.

The album ranges from dubby tracks like »Amarena« to the unexpectedly peaceful jazz piano of »Ambassade d’Angel« at the one end of the spectrum, while tracks like »Inca D’enfance« conjure up an ominous atmosphere that sends shivers down your spine at the other. If, however, Jac Berrocal was referring to the sacrifice of Capacocha by the Incas, then he has captured the mood perfectly.

The fact that this conglomerate of jazz noir, experimental noise and melodic-electronic polyrhythms also features rare and previously unreleased tracks makes it all the more exciting. »Boîte Boîte« presents itself as a surreal, strange and yearning collection, the depth of which is not revealed at the first listen. It’s an album that requires intense and patient engagement to grasp its essential meaning.