Posts Tagged ‘Ici d’ailleurs’

Geins’t Naït + L. Petitgand – Like This Maybe Or This

Ici d’ailleurs – MT012 – 13th November 2020

I must have fallen into a black hole in recent times: I hadn’t even realised that Ici d’ailleurs were still running their ‘Mind Travels’ series, which I’d followed from its inception, and have the first seven or eight releases on CD in a neat pile. Although, it would seem that apart from a couple of releases in 2017 and 2018, the series has lain largely dormant since 2015 – until now, so maybe I’m not quite as far out of the loop as I’d first thought. Its return is a welcome one, and arrives at a time many will be grateful. I am among the grateful, although providing a valid commentary to this – or anything – feels vaguely inappropriate.

These ‘Mind Travels’ releases were always strong by virtue of their otherness. The series was appropriately named, as the music each release contains is transportative, lifting the listener out of mind and body and to another realm. Like This Maybe Or This is no exception.

The pair came together in 2014 for the release of Je vous dis, which stood as a remarkable intersection of two very different artists – and yet it worked because of, rather than in spite of their disparity. Like This Maybe Or This is the duo’s second collaborative contribution to the series, and once again, it’s unsettling and awkward, although magnificently executed and greater than the sum of the parts. It seems that these two superficially divergent and disparate composers have found a certain commonality, and this, their second collaboration for the series, is a perfect merging of forms and ideas.

‘Hac’ brings clattering drums, undulating synths and a whole tumult of extraneous noise and voices not a slow-turning blender, while ‘22’ is a soft, supple semi-ambient effort, with mellifluous synth washes drifting in waves around a slow, metronomic wooden thud. Elsewhere, ‘uido 10’ is spare, grating, industrial: muffled vocal samples are partially submerged beneath murky sloughing waves of analogue noise that rises and falls like waves lapping against the shore.

It’s a brooding piano and stealthy sine waves that sculpt the tense mood of ‘Bagd’, before ‘Pecno’ brings an insistent oscillating throb that’s pure Suicide, while strings and piano grace the atmospheric ‘Dustil’ with an overtly orchestral / classical flavour, which contrasts with the expansive 80s electro stylings of ‘Liber’ which immediately follows. The final moments of the penultimate track, ‘37’ sounds- and feels – like the shoot-out at the end of a movie where everyone dies, and the desolate closer, ‘Aphro’ is a sullen-piano-led elegy at the end of everything. And it’s at the end of everything that we stand, or so it seems.

The world is on a knife-edge, and nothing feels safe, and nothing feels certain. And since, right now, the only travels many of us can undertake are in the mind, this album makes for a fitting soundtrack to a stationery journey.

AA

MT012_front

Ici d’ailleurs – 27th March 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

Matt Elliott’s solo work released under his own name is a world apart from his output under the Third Eye Foundation moniker. However, as the press release reminds us, he’s ben flying solo for a while now: The Calm Before, released four years ago, was his seventh solo effort. Farewell To All We Know is not the storm his previous album, The Calm Before alluded to, but nor is it an entirely mellow affair either. There are currents that run deep and perturbed in Farewell To All We Know, an album that leaks a certain sense of despondency which is often hard to define. It’s all in the mood.

The title track, which arrives after a brief instrumental introductory piece, is representative of the album as a whole: sparse acoustic guitar is the primary accompaniment to Elliott’s Leonard Cohen-esque growling drone. He sings low and mumbles his lyrics, but there’s something appealing about this gruff unintelligibility. Oftentimes, the vocals are emitted in monosyllabic breaths, breaking the words down to simple sounds, at which point they become less about linguistic meaning than the conveyance of a feeling, a mood, an emotion.

Flamenco favours and understated piano colour the instrumental slant of the album, giving it an almost continental hue. The soft, vaguely romantic – but bleak – stylings of the compositions are charming, sedate but with an undertow from currents that run dark and deep.

‘Can’t Find Undo’ is dark, stark, and brings a rumbling ambience as a prelude to the almost nursery-rhyme sing-song melodies of ‘Aboulia’ and the scale-driven ‘Crisis Apparition’ is easy on the ear but still drags on the soul.

Farewell To All We Know is a lugubrious and at times slow to the point of dragging effort, but one feels that’s the intention: this is not a pop album. Or a rock album. Farewell To All We Know is bleak and harrowing, but also charming and enjoyable in a dark, dark, dark folksy way.

AA

IDA141_front

Ici, D’ailleurs – 22nd June 2018

I find myself increasingly drawn to album covers that evoke a sense of desertion, emptiness, and which are oddly plain, bald. French avant-garde specialists Ici, D’ailleurs are particularly good in housing albums in covers of this type, with their ‘Mind Travels’ series, of which this is number eleven, being particularly noteworthy (and the tri-fold cover with a thick spine is especially nice). On the one hand, the cover art gives nothing away. On the other, it created a certain sense of emptiness and foreboding, which perfectly describes the music it houses.

Mysterium Coniunctionis – the product of a collaboration between Thighpaulsandra (who featured on many Coil albums) and Massimo Pupillo (who built his reputation as bassist with Zu, and has continued to expand it working with Eugene Robinson and as part of Triple Sun) – is dark and foreboding, and more.

The press blurb explains the album’s purpose neatly, so I shall quote: ‘Mysterium Coniunctionis makes direct reference to the eponymous and testamentary work of the psychiatrist Carl Jung, subtitled An Inquiry into the Separation and Synthesis of Psychiatric Opposites in Alchemy. It clearly reflect the duo’s intention to create particularly immersive and meaningful music from supposedly opposing materials’.

Mysterium Coniunctionis contains two tracks, each around the twenty-minute mark in terms of running time, and corresponding with one side of an album apiece. Halfway through the first, ‘Sagyria’, my wife wandered into my office and said she was worried there was something up with the motor on the dehumidifier before realising the uncomfortable humming was emanating from my speakers. Humming, throbbing, deep and resonant tones dominate both compositions.

There’s minimal movement across the album as a whole, and listening digitally the tracks bleed together to form an extended, expansive soundscape that pushes discomfort, a sense of disquiet and tension. Always tension. Some fourteen minutes into the second track, ‘Solve et Coagula’, the sounds reaches a shivering, spine-tingling level of intensity and density. It’s all in the frequencies, as the midrange and treble loom to the fore and get uncomfortable – really uncomfortable.

The ‘opposing materials’ which form the fabric of Mysterium Coniunctionis are the digital and analogue: in combination, they forge a dense and unsettling sound that eddies and whirls and tunnels into the inner regions by stealth.

AA

URUK

Ici d’ailleurs – 15th September 2017

Christopher Nosnibor

The gathering together of Aidan Baker (guitar), Gaspar Claus (cello), Franck Laurino (drums) and Maxime Tisserand (clarinets) was engineered by Stephane Gregoire, Ici d’ailleurs’ artistic director for the purpose of simply seeing what would happen. The four were selected because of their musical dissimilarities, and the fact they did not know one another personally or musically. As such, the element of chance was one of the leading factors in the emergence of the pieces which make up the album. All of this makes Serendipity an appropriate addition to the ‘Mind Travels Series’ releases, of which it is the eighth.

Serendipity brings its share of unexpected twists and turns, sudden changes in tone and direction, but what’s more remarkable is just how smoothly it flows. And while there are expansive ambient passages, it’s certainly not an ambient record.

‘A day staring at eternity’ part 1 begins with an elongated, broad sweeping drone before strolling percussion and a wandering bass brings a sense of structure and more linear movement on ‘part 2.’ Through disconsolate, minimal jazz – horns lost in a wilderness of sighing drones – to a funereal darkness and eventually racing, urgently towards…what? eternity is not fixed, but stretching out across myriad horizons, all of which are uncertain.

‘Drawn with the wind,’ also in four parts, works a seam of expansive space-age prog with ambient undercurrents. A motoric swell of urgent percussion propels the composition relentlessly forwards, before stepping back in tempo and position to forge a distant thunder amidst eddying drones. The fourth part blossoms into a spectacular sonic sunburst, a slow groove at its heart. The performance and production coalesce to create a spellbinding moment.

The twenty-one-minute ‘After all the sun is awakening’ is immense in every sense, a widescreen krautrock drone that sways and swirls hypnotically. Strings drift and drape over rumbling sonic abstraction which envelop the listener.

The last two pieces, ‘We host you’ and ‘Fructification’ stand somewhat apart from the rest of the release. Shorter, more linear and overtly psychedelic, the former is a nifty noodlesome nugget, while the latter somehow represents the culmination of Orchard’s objective, incorporating as it does all elements of the album with condense concision, weaving around a paired-back yet insistent groove.

As a whole, Serendipity is an impressive work which demonstrates the power of collaboration when the right people come together – making Orchard a fruitful collaboration indeed.

AAA

orchard_1000px_rvb

Ici d’ailleurs – IDA121 – 3rd February 2017

James Wells

The duo call it ‘death swing’, ‘weird wave’ or ‘funeral pop’. These self-made tags go some way to describe the multiple facets of their quirky, homespun brand of analogue-driven bedroom electropop. Grainy, grindy synths tones undulate through opener ‘Archaic Landscapes’, a primitive drum machine keeping time and clattering away tinnily as Xavier Klaine croons and yelps. The overall effect is like a psychedelic garage reimagining of Suicide.

Trilling fairground organs wow and flutter to forge light-hearted odd pop moments. It’s all very lo-fi and fizzy, and ‘Yallah’ manifests as a squalling new-wave noise of overloading treble, reminiscent of early Jesus and Mary Chain on speed. But ‘Jesus’ brings a graceful, funereal melancholy and a previously unheard sensitivity.

The scuzzed-out rap-rock racket of ‘The Land of the Free’ reveals further facets of their quirky style: Ruth Rosenthal hollers into a swirling vortex of sound. The quavering eeriness of ‘Delightful Blindness’ is intriguingly atmospheric, and the creeping stealth of ‘Imagine’ draws the curtain in suspenseful style.

 

WINTER-FAMILY-South-From-Here

Ici d’ailleurs… IDA102 4th March 2016

James Wells

Taking only half of a well-known phrase by way of a title, The Calm Before carries an implicit connotation of incompleteness, something unfinished, abridged. While there’s nothing remotely sketchy or half-formed about the six tracks on this album, their sparse, spare and elegant folk qualities do subscribe to a certain degree of minimalism.

As Third Eye Foundation, Elliott singlehandedly redefined the parameters of drum ‘n’ bass, while his solo work is broadly categorised as dark folk. The Calm Before isn’t really so dark, and doesn’t have the same sombrenesss of, say, Drinking Songs.

The simple acoustic instrumental piece, ‘A Beginning’, which appropriately introduces the album, has a lilting, lullaby quality, which drifts into the 14-minute title track. Elliott croons gently, quietly, calmly, the melody ascends and descends. Its simplicity is its strength, and the mood is at once uplifting and wistful.

‘I Only Wanted to Give You Everything’ finds Elliott in a darker place, a delicately picked guitar line reminiscent of early Leonard Cohen providing the backdrop to his Thom Yorke-like mumblings, before shuffling beats creep in and gradually swell while widescreen strings swoop in and build to a crescendo of abject rejection as he repeats ‘but you don’t love me…’ over and over.

There’s a downtempo Latin flavour to ‘Wings & Crown’, which demonstrates almost rockist tendencies, before the final track, ‘The Allegory of the Cave’ offers some light at the end of the tunnel as soft ambient notes drift over distant beats and piano and acoustic guitar skip lightly towards hope.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/153519419

Matt Elliott – The Calm Before (teaser) from Ici D’Ailleurs… on Vimeo.

Matt Elliott - Calm Before

http://www.thirdeyefoundation.com/