Unquiet Music Ltd 2023


If communication breakdown needed a soothing soundtrack, there’s an international team to provide unforgettable background to the plague of our times.

Global village doesn’t hold peace in its valley, spreading the worry which fuels this ensemble’s fantasy, yet one can safely assume that, even with quietude reigning around the world, the sound of music would fill the dale anyway. Still, there’s a steady tumult instead to render its existence interesting and keep Jean-Pierre Rossi’s songs captivating. Yes, songs. While the band’s debut got high on spirituality and instrumental brilliance from the likes of Markus Reuter – whose touch and Touch guitar are applied here as well – and pitched liturgy into avant-garde, the follow up to "In The Name Of (A Prayer For Our Times)" should measure the shallowness of today’s liaisons through immediate melodies… creeping up on the listener quite unexpectedly.

Of course, the repeated patterns of various half-smiles and photos of crowds in the platter’s artwork suggest a certain concept, but when urban sonics seep through silence to build tension into the album’s beginning, its titular number “Meme” welcomes a stereo-probing, epic a cappella and lets Rossi’s multiple voices sculpt a classical, baroque-tinctured chant which, syllable-by-syllable, elevates the experience to celestial bliss and which will be back with “Music (Is The Way Out)” to shape the finale. Such an edifice is rising before the throbbing “I Succumb” thickens the stream-of-consciousness-cum-kitchen-sink philosophy whose strands fill these pieces and accesses the past via the ’60s-tinted lens focused also on the future thanks to Pat Mastelotto’s percussive drive and Adrian Benavides’ angular guitar jive. And then there’s the folksy “Towards The Edge” to sieve a reverie, remove the chaff of skronk and distill a dream and a riff out of the arresting wordless melody once skank and lyrics float into the open to get dispelled in a frantic swirl of licks until “Lament” unfolds an aural magic, hypnagogic passages.

The drift may feel nightmarish in the tribal beat of “Commuting Communion” where Troy Jones’ drums and Jon Poole’s bass accentuate the insanity JP and Samira Brahmia’s deadpan vocals and Frédéric L’Épée’s ivories bring to the verge of joie de vivre, yet “Sometimes Love” is drenched in a string quartet’s chamber grandeur to dissolve topline in sweet, if solemn, church-like atmosphere and old-timey cinematic rainy scene whence “I Do Remember The Feeling” emerges on a wave of brass and weaves a romantic choir into an acid-jazz pulse. However, the subaquatic “Nemo Point” that finds Tony Levin chisel the groove sprinkles it with electronic lines which pretend to be acoustic and, thus, produces goosebumps. No wonder Rossi explained this effect succinctly: “The virus is indifference. There are no subjects; there is only the network, and it is us” – and staying apathetic after the spin of “MEMEmusic” would be impossible.


May 6, 2023

Category(s): Reviews
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