Les Joyaux de la Princesse – Croix de Bois ; Croix de Feu

From Les Joyaux de la Princesse, the French project of mastermind Erik, you can always expect something special. This time it is a spectacular release: a red vinyl 10″ plus a small flexi disc, packed in a sort of a book, with the French tricolore on the cover and filled with historical texts and images.

World War I, the Great War, is the subject here, a war for which many young men volunteered enthousiastically, driven by patriotic feelings and in the expectation that it would be short and easy. But soon they would be confronted with endless battles in the trenches and the use of chemical weapons…

The ‘Croix de Bois’ represent the remembrance of the fallen soldiers: ‘Je songe a vos milliers de croix de bois, alignées tout le long des grandes routes poudreuses, ou elles semblent guetter la relève des vivants, qui ne viendra jamais faire lever des morts’. The ‘Croix de feu’ is a somewhat mystical association of front soldiers, based upon patriotic themes: ‘Modèles de toutes les vertus francaises, vous devez ramener votre patrie, douce, énergique, rayonante, a son poste d’exemple. C’est la mystique croix de feu.’

In total you get 35 minutes of music, spread over the two records. The music of les Joyaux… sounds like a collage. There are orchestral parts, resembling an organ sometimes, which gives the music a sacred, ritual character. Besides that you’ll find sampled war sounds, military speeches and other sound documents, plus pieces of music from old 78 rpm records from that era. Although a large part of the music is rather tranquil, except for a few harsh industrial parts, the oppressing feeling of war remains with you throughout the records. A very special release…

artist: Les Joyaux de la Princesse
label: LJPD
details: 10' + flexi disc with book