Dear readers, I’m writing this during the heatwave, so excuse me if I keep this introduction to a minimum – the brain and fingers have a somewhat loose (and sweaty) grip on the task at hand.
I don’t want to neglect my homework altogether though, so please know that Rockfort’s latest mix contains music from all the releases reviewed below, but also: the flagship track from an EP by Parisians Film Noir, directed by the brothers and sisters Joséphine and Alexandre de la Baume, who convincingly merges cold-wave pop and garage rock; and the opening track from Mondkopf The day he lost it EP on Opal Tapes which is inspired, among others, by the films Dog day afternoon and Publication date.
There is also a real curve in a collaboration between rapper Laylow and the French king of disco Cerrone; and ‘Faire Et Redaire’ by Ascendant Virgo, the duet of singer-songwriter Mathilde Fernandez and Casual Gabberz mainstay Paul Seul.
Looks like Mylène Farmer has gone into a completely hard trance and that’s what I’m here for.
Lionel Marchetti – Planctos
Bernard Grancher – Bright Gray Sun
(Castles in space)
In my previous life, I’m not sure if I had the time or the inclination to sit (or lie down) and listen to a concrete musical composition of three hours and forty-three minutes in five movements. . For part of the time, I was extremely attentive, facing my speakers and immersing myself completely; at other times, I let him color the environment by reading; during the final 42 minute movement, I briefly passed out to the sound of gently swollen loops covered with spikes of static electricity, like vinyl crackles, and reverted to chord organ-like swells of science fiction soundtracks. It was a bit like being woken up by the waves lapping on your toes when the tide comes in.
Marchetti is from Marseille and is a poet, researcher and improviser as well as a composer. Planctos has been produced over the past five years, and is a very literally oceanic work that takes in the microscopic – “Movement 1 P.1” is captioned “Stammerings of bacteria” – and unfolds a larger marine life like the whales, jellyfish and finally, in this long fifth movement, the expanse of the ocean. Marchetti’s sounds also range from cloudy, far and wide to close-up and precision. The moments that struck me during the trip were the persistent rhythm, like a machine that “breathes”, in “Movement 4 P.4” (the movement of the jellyfish) and the radio communications, possibly including the forecasts. of navigation, superimposed on ‘Movement 2 Pt.2 – Arrow of Zenon’ which reminded me of Kate Bush’s ‘The Ninth Wave’ song sequel as its protagonist sinks deeper and deeper into the waves.
On a more intimate scale, we have a new album, the second this year, of Bernard Grancher’s basement synth jams. He continues to be inspired by the first British electronic and industrial groups such as Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire. We are told that “synthesizers are at the end of their life and have difficulty synchronizing with drum machines”, which explains part of the wobbly and crass joy of these songs; a must if you are a fan of proto-techno pulses, kosmische lof-fi, banshee wailing and farty drum machines.
Various artists – Emodrill – The New Western
Spirit. – No future
Triple Go – TWAREG
The title of a new White House compilation. and Because, orchestrated by rapper Retro X, contains a lot of it in its title: Emodrill combines “emo-rap” – another term for the atmospheric “cloud” variant of the trap that French artists have really made their own – and the sound drill which, via Chicago and London, became the latest subgenre to become a global phenomenon. The subtitle ‘New Western’ is also interesting; the artwork – with its nod to Django – and lyrics refer to classic cowboy characters and themes, and also echo MC Solaar’s 1994 track “The New Western” , which brought American myths to the streets of the French capital (“But Harry in Paris was unlucky”) – a sort of baguette western, if you will. Emodrill musically too, with the young guns contributing to tracks such as Retro X himself, Jorrdee, Lala & ce and Skinny Sixbool, and the range and quality is impressive. The project manager goes from the cloudiest of cloudy tracks, ‘Ma Vie Est Un Film’ which samples ‘Amo Bishop Roden’ from Boards of Canada, to the direct performance of ‘5th Symphony’, ‘Prêt Pour La Guerre’ by ‘Allikey Tyler combines, self-tuned vocals with a dry guitar lick, there’s Crix Le’s wacky “Killa” and Splinter x Spencer’s hardcore assault “Voodoo” as well as the heavy R&B of “Ciao Bye”, while that Lala & CE from London brings her awkward delivery on four tracks, including the scintillating trap-pop collaboration with Sali ‘0 To 100’.
Spirit. comes from the Montpellier sun, but her music is often dark and almost industrial – but most importantly, during this 11-track mixtape, she is also constantly inventive. Following in the footsteps of the Laylow cohort, this is a ‘digital’ rap sound that is something antiseptic – the rhythms are like pistons, covered in dust and rust, the basslines stalk you to. through vents and deep wells and synths glow like halogen lights.
TripleGo’s latest EP feels a bit like a stopgap – one of the tracks, ‘Morenita’, was originally released last year before the Red eyes album – but also one that seems to be aimed squarely on the dancefloor. The pop / deep house of ‘Game Over’ and ‘Zombie’ sounds a bit too generic, despite Sanguee’s swirling vocals, but the reggaeton-inspired tracks are a treat – the elastic ‘Morenita’, the warm, oozing bass from ‘Sans Parler, the catchy yet atmospheric’ Brrr ‘. Only ‘Que Tu Reviennes’ resists the optimistic vibrations with its heartbreaking lyrics and tragic Andalusian cadence.
Various artists – Club Maghreb K7: Synth Raï, Chaoui & Staifi 1985-1997
(Sofa Records / Les Disques Bongo Joe)
This is a great compact compilation featuring artists from all over the Maghreb but based in Lyon and released on cassette on the labels Édition Merabet, Top Music and SEDICAV. That degraded but punchy sound is one aspect of the appeal of these recordings, along with the feeling of picking up a hidden gem on a market stall, but those rich selections: the banging drums and distorted vocals on Malik ya Malik by Zaïdi El Batni, the playful drum machine funk of “Zine Ezzinet” by Nordine Staifi and the dreamy and spacious “Rahoum Yegoulou Sabirine” by Mokhtar Mezhoud (the most recent track here). Everywhere there is evidence that musicians are assimilating French pop trends, albeit sometimes late – Salah El Annabi’s Hata Fi Annaba dates from 1993 but takes up the melody of “Oxygene IV” by fellow Lyonnais Jean-Michel Jarre.
Mino Cinelu and Nils Petter Molvær – SulaMadiana
(Modern records / BMG)
Bada-Bada – I
SulaMadiana is the first collaboration between Norwegian trumpeter Molvær, who has collaborated with Bill Laswell, Moritz von Oswald and Sly & Robbie, and veteran French percussionist Cinelu, whose CV ranges from Miles Davis and Weather Report to Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson. The results of their encounter have a tangy Fourth-World flavor, with an electronically processed trumpet for a punchy, guitar-like sound or dissolved, circulating around Cinelu’s intricate yet catchy patterns, and they both contribute to the guitar. (acoustic for Cinelu, electric for Molvær). The tracks here simmer beautifully for the most part, but “Take the A # Train” takes off rhythmically, and the title track is a fair tribute to Cinelu’s mentor, Manu Dibango.
Bada-Bada’s debut EP places them among groups of innovative young people doing something similar to the new British jazz scene, absorbing influences from electronic music and minimalism in a way that seems fruitful and unforced. Halfway through, “Phantom” bursts into a hip hop style passage or even Boards of Canada (again!)
NLF3 – ABCDEFG HELLO!
The trio of brothers Nicolas and Fabrice Laureau and drummer Jean-Michel Pirès celebrate 20 years of existence with a new album that maintains the groove essence of the group while presenting a new crystal clear vision – drums (and rhythm box) coated with reverb, guitar that frequently goes through what looks like a grainy pitch shifter, naive vocal and synth melodies and big, thick piano clusters. The explored permutations, all named after the first eight letters of the alphabet, range from the jazzy “B” and dark, slightly shifted “D” waltz to the soft and lively blend of the “H”.
Thousand – In Paradise
Mariette – Prazépam Street
Some brilliant indie-pop sparks here; the last born of Thousand alias Stéphane Milochevitch has found fertile ground where MOR song-rock – certain works of Alain Bashung for example – meets Chris Rea or Dire Straits. Not necessarily attractive on paper, but done with a lightness to the touch and a refreshing and truly touching lyrical acuity; the unobstructed views of ‘Le Rêve Du Cheval’ are a remarkable example.
Guillaume Marietta’s territory, meanwhile, sits somewhere between glam and bizarre US folk, Beck included, all distorted acoustic strumming, crispy drum machine rhythms and screaming synths. What appeals most here is the tension between his aptitude for pop structure and his desire to dismantle everything, mow and scratch his own confections.
Quietus Mix 22
NLF3 – ‘H’ (recordings prohibited)
Skinny Sixbool, Retro X, Gizo Evoracci – ‘MA3’ (Maison Blanch.)
Bada-Bada – ‘R4G3’ (Self-released)
Mino Cinelu and Nils Petter Molvær – ‘SulaMadiana (Pour Manu Dibango)’ (Modern Recordings / BMG)
Bernard Grancher – ‘I Still Dream Of You’ (Castles In Space)
Marietta – ‘Prazepam Street’ (Born Bad)
Thousand – ‘To the Children of Saturn (Talitres)
Film Noir – ‘Hustling His Way’ (Albé)
Virgo Ascendant – ‘Do And Redo’ (Live From Earth)
Bnat El Maâna – ‘Hata La Lile Ya Moul Jalab Tayfiya’ (Sofa Records / Les Disques Bongo Joe)
Cerrone – ‘Experience ft. Laylow ‘(Malligator)
TripleGo – ‘Brrr’ (Twareg)
Spirit. – ‘Fragment’ (Young forever)
Mondkopf – ‘Matin’ (Opal Ribbons)
Lionel Marchetti – ‘Mouvement 4 Pt.3 – Onde de Vie Marine’ (Self-published)