4 out of 5
Label: Un Je-Ne-Sais-Quoi
Produced by: Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy
A slow gathering of percussive elements on the A-side reveals something quite panicked and urgent sounding about 8 minutes in to opener Pas élevé, se nourrit. Those “percussive” elements are due to one dude, Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy, sifting through some elusive ambience in those initial minutes to start hummingbird tap-tap-tapping on (apparently) ceramic tiles. It’s unclear what we’re building toward – or if we’re building toward anything, since the track surreptitiously nudges us along into this frenetic state, until we’re caught up in its whirlwind and not sure how we got there – and then he strips it all away, doing the random Storm and Stress spasms on the A-side’s coda, D’humeur à savoir.
Flip it to the B-side, though, and you’ll understand what this setup is all about: destroying you. Directement au voleur is a 17-minute war. This isn’t a drummer’s showcase – Geoffroy isn’t wowing us with fills and whatnot – it’s just an artist using his chosen instrument to express something, and that expression, here, is one of outright terror. We start with a similar ambience, but it feels toned differently – the buzzing and feedback isn’t enveloping something, it’s being twisted by something. And then five minutes in, the beat breaks in: layered, tribal drumming. Some oppressive, occasional slams of – guitar? – everything building, building in intensity, and still getting weirder, and more twisted. It’s frightening, arresting stuff. But it’s a damned jaw-dropping experience, and the kind of “story” that makes more sense, altogether, the more and more you listen to it.