Sunday, September 19, 2010

Review: L'oeil Du Sourd - Un? (2009)

L' Oeil Du Sourd (The eye of the deaf) is a pscyhedelic-rock/jazz-rock band formed in 2004 in Rennes, France. The band began with high-school friends, Youenn Migaud (guitar), Herve Launay (sax) and Antoine Tharreau (keyboards) who were later joined by Cedric Lucas (drums), Charlotte Mérand (electric violin) and Mathilde Clavier (vocals and clarinet). The lineup now consists of Hervé Launay, Youenn Migaud, Yvon Philipope (vocals, keyboards), Tony Peoc'h (drums), Julia Robin (bass).
Their sound as is captured on their 2009 album, Un?, is as dense as it is particular and creative, ranging from upbeat and groovy patterns to weird yet captivating atmospheres and textures; from psychedelic-rock to jazz-rock to Zeuhl.

Read the review after the jump

 Well this one is odd. Not so much the music (at least not for me, although I'm sure some will find it weird or just peculiar), but the song titles, the artwork, the band's name (The Eye Of The Deaf). But do not let that deter you. Inside waits an intriguing, beautiful and special sounding experience.
Formed in 2004 in Rennes, Bretagne in the north of France as a quartet of guitar, drums, saxophone and keyboards, the lineup got expanded with the addition of a violonist and vocalist (chanting/vocalization would be a more appropriate description). In 2009 they self-released their first album, Un?.

Long multi-part compositions, filled with heavy sounding guitars, enchanting keyboards and powerful drumming (with a variety of other instruments), fronted by saxophone and voices (female mostly), the music is otherworldly in a way, mixing styles together and a generous amount of experimentation with sounds and atmosphere.
At times very cool sounding, while at others demented and crazy (the opener Ods is a fine example of these extremes in their music), their music is eclectic in nature and consists of jazz, psychedelic rock, electronic manipulations and even zeuhl (listen to the bass playing and chanting in Ods and in Here I Am J(H) for example).
Their music sounds passionate, if only for the female vocalization by Mathilde Clavier (I think), and the instruments that accompanies her, be it the violin on A.C or the saxophone in Ods. But passion and zeal, while prevalent here, are part of the sound. Haunting vibes are abundant and playing around a theme in a jam-like manner seems to be something they like doing. It's not done off-hand, though. Thought is put into it with regards to how each instrument is contributing to the ornamentation of the pattern being played repetitively, whether it's the guitar, violin, keyboards or sax. A sense of mystery is seeping through in the longer tracks, Ods, Deux Trains?, Here I am J (h), driven by these elements mentioned in a hypnosis-inducing fashion. The tension increases as the music proceeds, reaching higher peaks (Deux Trains) and then even changing direction altogether (Ods, Deux Trains).

This album is quite a trip. A dynamic affair, it covers a wide range of sonic peaks and valleys, high-energy segments and cooler, calmer grounds. Its eclectic nature, mixture of jazz-rock with psychedelic-rock and zeuhl is well done, appealing and leaves me exhausted (in a good way) at the end. Being a first album, they may very well refine their sound, and remove the more rough parts of their music (though I can't personally find fault in that) and go for a more unified and cleaner sound. In spite of this, I find this work charming and to my taste, very satisfying. This band and album are a great discovery for me and I look forward to more from them.

Here's a video of the band:

For those who speak French, you can watch the following feature on the band:

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