Music Reviews

Artist: Geins't Naït & L. Petitgand (@)
Title: Je vous dis
Format: CD
Label: Ici d'ailleurs (@)
Rated: *****
Geins't Naït is Thierry Merigout in collaboration with Laurent Petitgand, both from France. Geins't Naït has a number of previous releases going back to 1986, and prior to that, Thierry was a drummer with Kas Product on their 1981 tour. Laurent Petitgand is a multi-instrumentalist and actor who has worked on many soundtracks for theatre and also ballet. One you may know is Wim Wenders' 'Wings of Desire'. While the music of Geins't Naït is on the experimental/industrial side, Petitgand provides a more musical approach, though I'd hardly call it mainstream. These two have collaborated previously, on ' Si J'avais Su, J'aurais Rien Dit' back in 2011. Never having heard any of their music previously (except for Pettigand's contributions on the 'Wings of Desire' soundtrack), I was quite unprepared for what I heard on this album.

'Je vous dis' ('I Tell You') is an enigma wrapped in a puzzle. There is no easy way to describe this album; it so defies any genre categorization. It starts out with some kind of wind instruments that reminds me of Swiss horns but higher in tone with an effluvia of various electronic sonics, a wavering string drone, then a plodding industrial beat with various other musical snippets interspersed and an occasional warped vocal. A dark industrial drone loop begins the next track, then a piano playing a melancholy melodic theme with a vocoder-processed one-word vocal loop, other glitchy industrial percussive sounds, and so it goes. Third track "Iroshima" is the closest thing to a real song yet, with vocoder vocals, delicate guitar work, looped electronic percussion track and some kind of bass. Simply melodic yet kind of psychedelic, ultimately beautiful in its post-industrial way. 'Reste á la fenetre' is comprised of broken piano melody, sparse accordian riffs, a fast repeating synth-organ arpeggio, drum beat with light percussion loop in the background, occasional distorted French vocal, synth voices, wild LFO oscillations, choral synth, thrown together like some musical stew made of leftovers from another era. Title track "Je vous dis" offers an achingly beautiful piano melody against a strong industrial beat amplified with a compressed wall of distorted guitar and a raving Frenchman with tinkling percussion in the background. Midway through, saxophones riff off the piano melody and eventually the industrial ambience dies down leaving piano and saxophones with some of the tinkling percussion. It's like Erik Satie in the devil's workshop, and for those who really know Satie, not far off the mark.

"Jm Massou" uses a weird industrial rhythmic loop and electronics, while some French dude speaks conversationally then out of nowhere, breaks into a song. Transmitted radio chatter and something akin to a mellotron plays chordally in the background. really bizarre. It all dies down leaving some muted synth pads and the voice of the Frenchman, sometimes talking, sometimes singing. In "kkkk" a repeated muted, repeated ascending/descending chordal synth pattern plays behind a jarring clink/clank industrial loop accompanying a slow, low-key industrial rhythm track, interspersed with bursts of static-noise while tinkling bells play an odd melody. At the same time we get some odd-voiced conversation in French, and other unidentifiable electronic sounds. It all makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. The finale, "SMOSN" works much better, firmly establishing a mechanical groove Played off of by an array of different instruments and a really twisted vocal with other strange vocal samples interjected. Imagine the Residents jamming with Alien Sex Fiend and you get a slight idea of what's going on here.

So is this melding of the warped avant garde industrial and something more conventionally musical successful? Truth be told, I really don't know. There are moments when it seems to achieve brilliance, and others just too far out to fathom. I think 'Je vous dis' suffers from trying to go in too many directions at once. The first time I heard it I was floored. Subsequent listenings proved a little disappointing. This is something you really need to make up your own mind about, and to that end, it's worth a listen, if only once.

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