[Reviewed by stark]
Oh là là, a split of probably my favorite two artists originating from the Denovali stables. The French of the Dale Cooper bunch and Witxes present two long tracks on both sides of a vinyl record, and take the listener into two similar, yet so very different journeys signed with madness, melancholy and the macabre.
Dale Cooper & The Dictaphones begins. Along with their “Le Stratégie St Frusquin” I move to the United States at the turn of the forties and fifties. From the back seat of their car, I watch Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck during their escapades by several States, marked by a fiery passion and death. This is probably the most apocalyptic piece of music that these devastatingly talented French guys have created up to date. Doom jazz of the highest sort, where the rough clatter of electric guitar comes to grips with the great saxophone parts, which may not be particularly virtuosic, but they build such an atmosphere, that nothing remains but to smoke a Chesterfield and be seduced by the blood-red of Her mouth. Again and again, images as evocative as they are kitschy spread before my eyes, the entwined bodies of two lovers against a falling world bathed in fire. The latter part of the music gets a bit more quiet, but it doesn’t mean that the French musicians want to relieve the tension in any way. None of that. Stains of silence interspersed with strange sounds are an introduction for a vocal colored with a slightly ironic tone. Appearing very briefly, but making its presence quite clear. This is the end of the song, a few more minutes of walking through the ruins and we turn the vinyl on the other side.
And there, with the very first second, Witxes hits fuckin’ hard with a violent tone – if you have some furniture with protruding edges nearby the player, then beware, because you can hurt yourself as it may blow you off the speakers. It’s only a moment though, since “Pisces Analogue” is a loud and intense, but still very melancholic composition. This time we move about 25 years forward, to the late sixties – mid seventies. An American desert, where the military is carrying out some secret experiments. Flickering lights in the sky, searching for the collective consciousness of insects. Maxime Vavasseur creates mostly analog soundscapes straight from a sci-fi movies of the 70s, although assisted by organic sounds and field recordings. Boards Of Canada recently gave them a beautiful tribute on “Tomorrow’s Harvest”. Such sound expression is generally making a comeback in sci-fi movies (“Beyond The Black Rainbow” by young Cosmatos), but not only (eg. the amazing “Cold In July”), not to mention the debut disc of maestro John Carpenter. “Pisces Analogue” is amazingly spatial and clear, classic yet modern. It is worth mentioning that both projects as one of their source materials have used the sounds created by the other one. Almost unrecognizable, both compositions have a clear author’s mark.
I mentioned the vinyl release at the beginning; there’s also a CD version, but these sounds are much more suitable for the big black disc. At the same time the music has a highly cinematic character, illustrative in nature, hence these references in the preceding paragraphs. A great gift from these French folk. Initially I was a little worried that they will be some outtakes from their recent, very good records, but there is no question about it. Once again they prove that their imagination is unlimited.
Witxes, Dale Cooper Quartet And The Dictaphones – Split
Denovali Records, den216