Friday, December 28, 2007

classick?: Black Devil

The complete lack of verifiable information about Black Devil adds an element of mystery to their music that automatically makes them intriguing, and has even led some to question whether they exist at all. As the story goes, French duo Bernard Fevre and Jackie Giordano quietly released the Disco Club EP in 1978 under the Black Devil guise before quickly fading away. The record was a highly respected, hard-to-find artifact that was years ahead of its time in terms of musical style and technique: pulsating, bongo-infused, arpeggiating spacey disco with a slightly darker edge, recorded without the aid of computers.

Fast forward to 2004, when Rephlex records (which is co-owned by Richard D. James) re-issued the mythical EP as a series of 12" vinyls, apparently inspiring Fevre to end his 25+ year hiatus and head back into the studio; Black Devil released 28 After in late 2006, followed by a remixed version of the album entitled Black Devil In Dub shortly thereafter.

If you think the story sounds a little too patchy to be believed, well, you are not alone. There is mounting speculation among fans that Black Devil is nothing more than yet another prank by Richard D. James himself. The stylistic similarities between Black Devil and James' work (Aphex Twin, AFX, etc.) are hard to ignore, as are the mysterious backstory and coincidental 're-issue' by Rephlex. Although it is difficult to say one way or the other whether James was simply heavily influenced by Black Devil, or is in fact the diabolical mastermind behind it all, it has no effect on the music itself, which the BBC described as a "fitting soundtrack to filling a yacht with supermodels and heading out to St. Tropez." Check it out for yourself.

"On Just Foot" from 28 After

"I Regret the Flower Power" from Black Devil In Dub

Black Devil MySpace
Richard D. James wiki

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