The group's name means "an instantaneous musical drama," a fitting title for this French experimental group, active since the mid-'70s. Un Drame Musical Instantane (DMI) rely on the improvised free jazz tradition for much of their method of composing, and yet they add to that a theatrical presentation, often using multimedia at their live shows as well as providing soundtracks to silent movies, while their studio work often revolves around concept themes. The group combines traditional instruments with electro-acoustic effects, with an emphasis on collective creation and integrating social and daily life into their art.
Jean-Jacques Birge, Francis Gorge, and Bernard Vitet started DMI in the autumn of 1976 in Paris, France. Gorge and Birge had been performing together since 1971, and in 1974 they started the GRRR label to release the record Defence De as a trio with a percussionist, Shiroc. In 1976, they met trumpet player Vitet at a Operation Rhino concert to benefit the Laborde Anti-Psychiatric Clinic. Vitet already had an impressive career, belonging to the first French free jazz band with Francois Tusques as well as working with Bernard Parmegiani, Michel Portal, Lester Young, Archie Shepp, Anthony Braxton, Don Cherry, Chet Baker, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Steve Lacy, Jean-Luc Ponty, Django Reinhardt, Eric Dolphy, Albert Ayler; and accompanying Serge Gainsbourg, Yves Montand, Brigitte Bardot, Brigitte Fontaine, and Marianne Faithful.
For the next couple years the trio met in the basement of Birge's apartment a few times a week to record many hours of improvised music, also adding in experimental vocalist Tamia into the jam sessions for about a year. Taken from these sessions, their first album, Trop d'Adrenaline Nuit, came out on Grrr in 1977, a very freeform avant-garde record similar to AMM and MEV. By 1978 they began to play live, and in 1980 they began to compose music to supplement the improvised music. In 1981, they released their second LP, Rideau!, a far more lyrical effort, from studio and live recordings from the previous year. Soon after that other musicians joined DMI, and the group often performed with up to 16 people on-stage or in the studio as the Grand Orchestra du Drame. This group, which included singer Francoise Achard, poly-instrumentalist Helene Sage, accordionist Michele Buirette, percussionist Gerard Siracusa, as well as actors and many more, created some of DMI's most dynamic and interesting recordings and lasted until 1986.
The group released over 20 LPs and cassettes during the 1980s and 1990s, as well as appeared on numerous compilations. Their label Grrr has also released LPs by many of DMI collaborators, including multi-instrumentalist Helene Sage and accordionist Michele Buirette. Though Gorge left DMI in 1992 to work fulltime as a computer programmer, Birge and Vitet kept the group going with other collaborators, eventually going into new medias like the Internet and CD-Rom. The group officially disbanded in 1999. ~ Rolf Semprebon, Rovi