A collaboration with Serge Gainsbourg, L'Enfant Assassin Des Mouches (The Child Fly-Killer) is one of those releases that you really have to hear to believe. Originally released back in 1972, this French "pop" album is one of the most strange, yet oddly-compelling things that I've heard in some time. Vannier and Gainsbourg worked together on several releases, including some film scores and the more popular LíHistoire de Melody Nelson, but this collaboration between the two is truly the most trippy.
Containing everything from musique concrete to blistering psych-rock freakouts to glorious symphonic pop and even carnival-esque moments, the album is even blended together with even more experimental segues that include everything from found sound samples to avant garde theatrics. I guess one should expect no less when the written text accompanying the music deals with a child who stumbles upon a land ruled by flies, only to kill their leader and then finally be killed in revenge by the flies themselves.
Album opener "L'Enfant La Mouche Et Les Allumettes" starts with the clanging of bells, the striking of a match, shuffling movement, and traffic noise before morphing into something that shifts between strutting, funky rock and horn-driven playfullness. "L'Enfant Au Royaume Des Mouches" is even more strange, with bombastic drums and dirty guitars riffing over vibes while a huge chorus adds even more soaring dynamics. As if that weren't enough, things shift dramatically again on "Danse Des Mouches Noires Gardes Du Roi" as the piano-driven orchestral rock track sounds like much more typical french pop of the time.
It simply doesn't rest from there, and while the constant changes might seem a bit maddening to some, the release keeps tugging at you throughout with what are simply outstanding arrangements and instrumentation. "Le Roi Des Mouches Et La Confiture De Rouse" adds some eastern instrumentation to the symphonic pop stew, making for a heady track that melts into clambering alarm noises and playground noises while "Pattes De Mouches" is all freaky horrorshow plucked strings, chopped-up horns and choral moans. At times, the release truly sounds like it could easily be music pulled from the soundtracks of six or so completely thematically different films, and yet that's part of the joy of listening to the release as it keeps you guessing throughout. Endlessly inventive, sometimes abrasive, and at other times downright hilarious, L'Enfant Assassin Des Mouches is one of those releases that I'm glad has been saved from the forgotten record bins of lore.