The premises 1977-1982

The premises 1977-1982

The story of Alésia Cosmos really began with our first album Exclusivo ! composed and recorded at the beginning of 1983. But before that, the core members had together some decisive artistic experiences.

Back in 1975 Pascal Holtzer and I, Bruno de Chénerilles met in the bars in Strasbourg. Pascal being a photographer at that time took snapshots of my first free music group Corbo Combo.
Basically consisting of Michel Froehly (el guitar and bass) and myself (el guitar, drums, trumpet, trombone, tapes, turntable and any sound device found on location) playing as a duo, this very radical free music group had different lineups.
Saxophonist Dominique Gasser and cellist Didier Laroche joined regularly for some concerts, as did Marie-Berthe Servier on vocals or Ismaïl Safwan on piano.

Even Pascal Holtzer joined Corbo Combo for a series of shows under the title of Vegetabble.He designed a very creative and elaborated slide show on a double giant screen.The musicians were improvising an hour long set in direct relationship with his pictures.

At that time in 1976/79, a bunch of improvisers were playing in Strasbourg. A small local free music scene was trying to exist during 3 years with Musik Aufhebung, Corbo Combo, Yves Dormoy, Philippe Poirier, Ghislain Muller, Jean-Baptiste Antonioni, Mike Laurent, Dominique Courtadon and others. Approximately 15 concerts were mainly organized by Bruno’s record shop Tympan Sorcier, under the titles of Musique Mouvante (Moving Music) or Académie de Musique de Strasbourg (funny, no?)

In 1978 Corbo Combo as a trio (Dominique, Michel and myself) had another decisive experience composing, improvising and playing live for Bernard Bloch‘s theater show. Faust de Goethe was something like a free rock musical theater quartet. It was performed over 40 times in Elsass, Germany and in Lyon.

Then Pascal and I formed Hamburger Blues Band to express our blues roots. The quartet lineup also featured Michel Froehly on bass and Mike Laurent on drums.

Here I have to mention another highlight of experimental music in France. Because it was very local and short, it is generally ignored by most specialists but still unforgettable for some hundreds of people who attended these 3 shows in 1979 in Strasbourg and Saint-Avold (my hometown in Moselle).

Under the name of Danger, Michel Froehly and I performed a very special electric guitars duo. Backed by a roneotype machine groove tape (there was no laser copier yet), we were switching our amps up to highly distorted larsens. At that time, we probably invented what will be named further noise music.
On the first show some very excited young people broke and threw chairs.
On the second show Pascal joined Danger in filming it with a super 8 camera.
On the third one, he projected his film from the second show. This third and last concert was an opening for the well-known french group Atoll and nearly ended in a riot.

During these years, I also composed and wrote some sci-fi radio plays for french state radio channel France Culture. Under the influences of William Burroughs, John Cage, Pierre Henry and others, I developed a personal tape music work in my studio beside the scenic and collective experiments.

Then in the early eighties, I appeared for the first time under the name of Alésia or Alésia Cosmos Furi Show. It was a solo performance on guitar, voice, analog synth and tapes. Sometimes in duo with bassist Jack Nietzsche and with images and texts. There I mixed a lot of my previous musical practices as singing, writing, composition, blues, rock, tape, electronic and free music.

This experimental show led step by step to a music project based on my and Pascal Holtzer’s experiments and compositions. At the end of 82, both of us appeared on 12 Pour 1 compilation LP on French label AYAA with 2 solo titles : Horst Karmann and Anniversaire.

Then Marie-Berthe, Pascal and I recorded solo pieces for another compilation LP Sous Paradis : On the Road Again Memorial 1 to 5, Udi 14 and Sweet Angelina Lost in Paradise.

These solo pieces were perfect exercises for a more collective project involving all our composition, improvisation and recording forces. At the beginning of 1983 we were ready for Exclusivo! , the real start for Alésia Cosmos‘s project.

Bruno de Chénerilles

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