Jean-Yves Labat: M. Frog
Jean-Yves Labat (aka M. Frog and M. Frog Labat,) referred to as "an experimental musician living in Woodstock," was Todd Rundgren's synthesist on the first Utopia album. M. Frog, his first solo release, came out on Albert Grossman's Bearsville label in 1973. The weird cover of M. Frog is multicolored polar graph paper, supposedly a new way Labat had of writing music for the synth.
M. Frog is the initial offering from a would-be French monk turned musician named Jean Yves Labat. Admittedly, France has never stood out as a major force in the rock music world, and M. Frog will do little to change this, but the album at least merits attention as a curiosity in a field rarely lacking such things. It is basically a synthesizer album, but Labat notates his musical scores not by note, but by an arrangement of multicolored squares placed side by side on a linear graph. Six full pages of this brilliant technologia are offered as inducement to sale, and they're quite neat to gawk at while listening to something else. The music itself runs the familiar gamut from synthijazz to the usual electronic mysterioso- cosmic space stuff - all of it competent but hardly innovative. If you're an electronic music freak, however, you might enjoy it, and it'll probably be in the delete sections of your record store within the year. Worth anything up to two bucks.Labat was also credited for "assistance in the use of Synthi-A" on Jackie Lomax' album Three from 1972, where both Levon and Rick guested. He is also mentioned by Greil Marcus in the liner notes to The Band's 1998 album Jubilation. Appearently the Garth Hudson melody "French Girls" was first written in 1971 for lyrics by Jean-Yves Labat, lyrics that now are lost.
Rick Danko is credited on M. Frog for playing upright bass.
Labat has also released the albums Underwater Electronic Orchestra (1976), Transition #1 (1978) and Touche (1981).
Jean-Yves Labat - M. Frog - 1973 - Bearsville BR 2140