In the late sixties and early seventies a number of bands in Germany emerged with a unique sound and a style of their own. The music of those bands was labeled as krautrock, even though they had a wide range of very different styles. They weren't even a movement. Most bands didn't know each other and followed their own path and ideas. They were separate groups of people and individuals, but with common grounds that took advantage of the (musical) freedom of those days. One of these common grounds was rebellion; not only against the establishment and the authorities, but also musically. They deliberately didn't want to sound like the American and British bands that dominated the music back then. The German bands choose to play free form music and improvisation. Another common ground was the use of new technology, such as the synthesizer, but also new studio equipment and techniques. Many were influenced by Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007) and some of the musicians were even pupils of this influential German composer.
Just as in Germany, in France musicians emerged from the underground sharing these common values. Were the German bands influenced by Stockhausen, France has a history in electronic music with Pierre Boulez and the 'musique concrete' of Pierre Schaeffer, amongst others. Where krautrock gained some notice, the French underground music was enjoyed by only a small group of people.
Ilitch is the musical project of the Parisian artist Thierry Müller. Most of the time, he was accompanied by his brother Patrick Müller, but in the early days by Ruth Ellyeri as well. Apart from being a musician Thierry Müller is also a painter and photographer. Ilitch started somewhere in the early seventies. In its first period the band recorded two albums, Periodikmindtrouble (1978) and 10 Suicides (1980). After the second album Thierry Müller then focused on his other art forms, although the Müller-brothers briefly returned to music in 1985 when they recorded an album as Ruth, a synthi-pop band that totally differed from Ilitch.
In 2002 Fractal Records released both Ilitch albums for the first time officially on CD. They had become rare collector's items. Both albums were released as double CDs with a lot of bonus material, photographs and artwork. The re-releases introduced the band to a wider audience and surprised by the attention they got, Ilitch was brought back to life. In the past decade two brand new albums were recorded and released, Hors Temps / Out Of Time (2004) and Lena's Life & Other Stories (2007), as well as a handful of special releases.
Un Jour Comme Tant D'Autres is the latest of these special releases. The album contains recordings from 1975, both studio and live tracks and all previously unreleased. They have been remastered and sound very fresh, with the exception of the last live track. Back then Ilitch was musically related to the early Kraftwerk (pre- Autobahn era), Cluster (from around Cluster II), Agitation Free and even Tangerine Dream (period Alpha Centauri, Atem and Zeit). Compared to their German peers the music of Ilitch has a melancholic sound. The main instruments are electric guitar, Farfisa-organ, Elka-keyboard and the EMS VCS3-synthesizer. For someone who is new to the band this album is a good introduction to their early work. Beta Lactam Ring Records will also re-release 10 Suicides early 2012.
**** Erik Gibbels (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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