Mathias Delplanque: Le pavillon témoin
Low Impedance

Though France-based Mathias Delplanque is fairly well-known for electronic dub releases under the Lena name, it's fitting that he's opted to issue Le Pavillon Temoin (‘The Show House') under his real name. Not to disparage the Lena material in any way, but this new album sounds like a more personal and direct reflection of Delplanque's music-making. The style is certainly not Lena ; instead, acoustic instrumentation (guitar, piano, cello, drums, accordion, melodica, bells) dominates the album's atmospheric and diverse settings, and the songs themselves inhabit a post-rock space that ranges from jazz and folk to ambient and musique concrete. There are dreamy, downtempo moments (“Contre-Plinthe,” “Va-Et-Vient”), folktronic settings (the equally funereal and wistful “Ecrasé sous les pierres ”), piano-based dramatics (“Parquet flottant”), and lumbering dirges (“Le detecteur de mouvements,” where strings moan, shudder, and swoop amidst junkyard percussive patterns). Moods shift within songs too: “Le regard” opens with subtly processed lattices of acoustic picking but then morphs into a post-rock dirge accompanied by Old West whistling, while “Le corridor” puts its melancholy accordion melodies through a glitch-heavy blender. For reasons that aren't entirely clear, four of the fifteen pieces, including the folk meditation “Saragosse” and gravel-voiced dirge “It's Spring On the Moon,” are grouped under the title “Le journal oublié” (“The Forgotten Diary”). Many pieces are short, like brief scenes or sketches, but they work together to make a cumulative impact. It may be more challenging to get a handle on Le Pavillon Temoin when it's so wide-ranging but, in the long run, the album makes a stronger impression as a result.

August 2007