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NLF3 (France)
Sixteen Tons 
By Marcelle Moroze
Brothers Nicolas and Fabrice Laureau met Ludovic Morillon at 12 years of age. Listening to their parents’ records by artists such as Pink Floyd, the Beatles, and Rolling Stones, the three were inspired to make their own music. Thus, the underground rock trio NLF3 was formed, the acronym standing for the first letters of each of their names.

The group performed on April 29 at the upscale club 16 tons in Moscow, a venue they are not used to playing in. “In Paris, the music scene is diverse, and you can find anything there. Moscow does not have an evident underground, Indy rock culture as exists in Europe and America,” Nicolas and Fabrice explained. This was their first performance in Moscow, although they have performed all over Europe and in the United States for more than ten years.

When they first began, the trio was releasing multiple records per year. Nowadays, the suffering French market and their busy lives do not allow them to devote as much time to recording. In 1999, however, they released a double album entitled “Part One - Part Two,” and just one year ago put out a second album, “viva!” under the Prohibited Records label.

NLF3’s music is a mesh of rock, jazz, electronic, and world music elements. Each of them plays three to four instruments, using samples and overdubs in order to create the distinctive sound. Because every song is unique in style, it was hard to believe the same musicians were playing the whole set. Drummer Ludovic Morillon was exceptional, keeping up with the varying beat count of each song. All pieces incorporated unusual sound experiments, such as hushing noises, humming and blowing a whistle attached by a tube to a small keyboard.

As very few vocals are used in their music, fans of sing along music will not enjoy NLF3. But for those who appreciate fresh, innovative compositions that do not rely on a predictable beat, this group is definitely worth checking out. The different musical experiments create an intelligent flow of sound, which would be perfect, though challenging, for DJs to use while spinning. But thus far, another art has been more attracted to the group.

Russian film director Sergei Eizenstein’s “?Que Viva M?xico!” was shot in 1931 but never completed. Now it is being reconstructed and restored, due out in September of this year. NLF3 is creating the hour and a half long soundtrack for the film. It promises to be an extremely challenging endeavor, but the three are excited to be part of such a historical moment in film history.

Although NLF3 is correct in saying that Moscow does not have an underground music scene, it is clear that there are fans and pioneers out there. Judging from the crowd that gathered Thursday night, and the number of bodies moving to the rhythm of NLF3’s eclectic beats, it appears that young Russians do appreciate inventive, quality music in today’s saturated pop music culture.

02.05.04
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