Catherine Ribiero

French pals often have rolled their eyes when I profess being a fan of Catherine Ribiero’s records, citing overly-dramatic singing, cheeseball rock leanings (especially as she moved from the 70s into the 80’s). Her records with Alpes in the early 70s (especially Ame Debout, No.2, and Paix) hit some great moments; if you can imagine Marble Index-era Nico with more strident vocal approach along the lines of a more controlled and acrobatic Patti Smith (especially on Ame Debout’s title track) you get somewhat of an idea. Instrumentally, Alpes (led by her husband Patrice Moullet) were as stunning and experimental as any prime Krautrock/out-Prog of the time, utilizing homebuilt contraptions of genius construction (crazy metallic-bodied strings, the rapidfire bongos of Ame Debout are motorized). Stark, expansive, taut, and yes dramatic stuff that gives a pretty nice expanded view of psychedelic Europe’s musical awakening outside the oft-spotlighted UK and German takes. (Brian Turner)