European funk fusion of the highest order, Michel Gonet's Phasing News Volume 1 is the essential companion piece to the venerated Volume 2. It's truly a library treasure that every home must own. As Tele Music themselves said, it contains "tense and mysterious underscores in a range of styles"; whilst we don't disagree, we'd add swaggering, orchestral drama-funk-jazz-breaks. Vital.
Opener "Moon To Light (Number II) - A" is a total wonder. It's incredible, and what a way to begin a record. The percussion is electrifying, complimenting the dark, heavy piano, eerie organ work, electric guitar soling and rhythm section brilliance. Part B is virtually identical but without the electric guitar. The slow "Soul Cathedral (Number II) - A" is an ambient spacey synth gem which is both beatless and drenched in phased organ. Pretty captivating. Part B plays it rather straighter, a church organ continuing the same melody and tempo but with less of the swirling synthy effects.
"Light In The Rains (Number II) - A" sounds like something Diamond D would've sampled in the mid-to-late 90s, conjuring as it does that peculiar, creeping Axelrod-funk, all eerie electric guitar and organ, bass and spacey effects. Part B loses the electric guitar and adds brass.
The swirling, dramatic "Mondial Scoop (Number II)" has that urgent News At Ten feel with its prominent timpani drums whilst "Mecanic Bird Song" is a frenetic, abstract track with disorientating keyboard interplay.
*Total highlight* "Mephisto Jet (Number II) - A" rides a slick, proto-hip-hop beat with melodic, warm Rhodes yet, thrillingly, casually ups the drama with strings and timpanis. It then returns to its more mellow state. Ace. Part B adds acidy, phased percussion to create a more hypnotic, tripped out feel to proceedings. Part C is half as long but, pared back to just drums and Rhodes, it's arguably twice-as-nice.
To close, the shuffling, bell-laced urgent jazz of "Phasing News - A" is another highlight, riding a great bassline and augmented by ace drums, organ and electric guitar. Part B is also great, removing the guitar and doubling down on the head-nod funk.
The audio for Phasing News Volume 1 has been remastered by Be With regular Simon Francis, ensuring this release sounds better than ever. Cicely Balston's expert skills have made sure nothing is lost in the cut whilst the original, iconic Tele Music house sleeve has been restored here at Be With HQ as the finishing touch to this long overdue re-issue.