Les Discrets: Oubliees

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Les Discrets: Oubliees
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Les Discrets: Oubliees
Post-Rock, Shoegaze
Prophecy Productions
March 17th, 2012
Release length: 42:49
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When it comes to artsy material, Les Discrets is a name that quickly comes to mind. A french group of Post-Rock and Shoegaze musicians, the project is helmed by Fursy Teyssier, who handles all the duties aside Drums (Winterhalter) and some additional vocals and lyrical compositions (Audrey Hadorn). With a few releases since 2009, including their debut full-length Septembre et Ses Dernieres Pensees, the band finds themselves on Prophecy Productions once more for the follow-up recording, Ariettes Oubliees… But, is this an inspiring artistic expression, or one that got too lost in translation?

Much like the often darker, artistic tone, the audio to Artiettes Oubilees has a bit of a muffled and raw quality to it. While the instruments are largely crisp, you can easily get the feeling of a Depressive Black Metal album, something that makes understanding the comparisons to Alcest rather easy. The guitars share between a deeper acoustic sound against louder, often higher pitched electric chords with cleaner distortion that helps give the music that Shoegaze quality. The bass is pretty deep and loud, especially against the softer unplugged strings, but can be drowned out otherwise, though still doing a good job of supporting the rhythm to the release. There’s also tamborines during “La Traversee,” which are as distant as the cymbals that also don’t do much for the recording. Like the bass, they have the potential of going unheard pending on what guitar approach is utilized. The snares aren’t anything too impressive either, though some parts come off much louder with a emptier sound compared against the subtle, low volume click of the bass kick that really is unimpressive. When the vocals do occur, they are a typically clean approach with layered differing pitches that hold a slight echo.

“La Traversee” isn’t the most impressive performance, and many of the faults in the production do end up hurting it somewhat. The uninspiring sound from the drums, and how dramatically different the volume levels on the guitars can be are a bit staggering. The slower pace of the track does help to make the eight plus minute experience justifiable for the most part, never really feeling over extended despite “Linceul D’Hiver” bleeding into it. There are many softer bridges that work with the flow, but could be argued as filler, such as around the five minute mark when this crawl to an astral environment with much lighter vocals that almost get lost in the mix. However, it doesn’t compare to the atmosphere and chill in the air that the largely depressive “Le Mouvement Perpetuel” carries. The softer vocals and layering effect work well, as do the unplugged guitars against the higher pitch electric notes. This sets a gothic tone while the bass keeps it from going completely into that realm. The kicks get a chance to pick up as well around the half way mark, amping the speed up a little in a natural way. It’s a short section, but the transitions work well in and out of it, though the Doom Metal-esque music is the most impressive aspect, easily allowing listeners to kick back and be taken away, unlike the slower Post-Rock acoustic piece “Apres l’ Ombre” that isn’t really much of an offering. The atmosphere is present in an astral sense, but the delivery is far from anything too astounding, utilizing simpler notes that take on the electric guitars duties with a slight echo on the soft vocals. It’s not a bad song, but it feels more like an extended interlude considering it doesn’t really go anywhere.

Surprisingly, it’s the less atmospheric and Shoegaze inspired material that really stands out the most. “La Nuit Muette” takes on more of a traditional Post-Rock sound that really limits the environment in favor of a streamlined upbeat performance. There’s still a good deal of emotion to be found, but nothing feels pushed along, though it does shift into slower terrain from time to time which does help to keep the flow alive when things start to get a little redundant. That same energetic tone is present on “Au Creux de L’Hiver.” The length is a minute shorter, and given the lack of largely different changes in pace, it’s for the best. Again, the music is enjoyable for what it is, but the Depressive Black Metal style higher/louder clean chords come back with a vengeance, adding a bit of a dismal tone that carries the adventurous Shoegaze style well. While the speed is quicker than any other song, it still can take you away in a similar manner to “La Traversee.” But, it’s the closing track, “Les Regrets,” that stands out the most. This is where the Depressive Black Metal ideas merge with the Shoegaze elements better, and the music takes a bit of a harsher, heavier sound. It’s an instrumental piece that teases what the band can do when handling a far more Metal style as opposed to Post-Rock. This pushes a beautiful emotion into the tighter and faster pace that benefits from the lack of vocals by not having to conform to a softer approach. For fans of this style of performance, it not only is a memorable experience, but easily the strongest of all the tracks.

Overall, Artiettes Oubliees is still an interesting and engaging album. While it may not be the most impressive of artistic expressions, it does set up a darker atmosphere that can whisk listeners away from time to time, and benefits from some Shoegaze influenced chords that feel at home with the Italian roots of the group. Unfortunately, these tracks are largely kept to softer pieces, and it isn’t until the richer or more upbeat tracks kick in towards the end that you get a real feel for what Les Descrets can really do. For fans of creative, passionate music, this one is certainly worth checking out, but not without sampling first. For as good as some songs end up being, such as “La Nuit Muette” and on, the others can overstay their welcome, or just generally not be too appealing. Even some of the better tracks can have moments that feel as though they are padded a bit despite how well it works with the song, or how natural they feel to the flow. But, don’t let these issues deter you from experiencing Artiettes Oubliees. There’s still enough solid music here to come back to for quite a while if this is your thing.

01. Linceul D’Hiver – 2:50
02. La Traversee – 8:23
03. Le Mouvement Perpetuel – 6:55
04. Ariettes Oubliees I: Je Devine a Travers un Mumure… – 5:31
05. La Nuit Muette – 5:49
06. Au Creux de L’Hiver – 4:36
07. Apres l’ Ombre – 4:34
08. Les Regrets – 4:10
Overall Score: 7.5/10

Digital review copy of this release provided by Records.