review

Dérives

:take: is the solo project of Jérôme Boutinot, a French musician from Paris. This self-titled EP is his second release as a split-EP with White/Lichens was released last year on the same label.

If Jérôme started his career as a member of a very typical and average post-rock band called Stereogrammes between 2003 and 2006, his solo compositions are a totally different aesthetic expression much more subtle and sensitive.

He is obviously not indifferent to the discographies of Mick Turner (Dirty Three, Tren Brothers, Bonnevil), Loren Connors or The Stars of the Lid, mixed with a love for the asceticism and tension of math-rock, but without taking the energetic and noisy sides of this style. He likes to experiment around the idea of repetition but with a gradual and fragile evolution from which arises a particular sense of insight and intimacy.

Even if his production is instrumental, I would relate his works to other artists from the French scene like Acetate Zero, Thomas Méry or Playdoh, as there is a common sensitivity, with a central emotional role given to the guitar, but his approach is even more minimal, sensitive and delicate.

Jérôme develops drones, looped patterns, with reverb, finger picking and occasional percussive effects from his guitar but never for the sake of technique or free improvisation. Instead he is building very sensitive compositions leaning sometimes towards the melancholic lullaby form.

"Touche", the first track, is directly a strong surprise, this kind of music tends often to abstraction and meditation with sparse notes but, after a drone introduction, he chooses to start with a childlike melody built through a process of gradual repetition, until bass notes join the first guitar for an apex that could recall the Bob Dunne contribution at the bass for Labradford. It's the feeling you have in the morning, when the sun rises in a blue sky, one Saturday morning with a long free day in front of you.

"L’endroit du crâne paisible", the longest track with 7:28, is more about daydreaming later that day, taking a nap on the grass and looking at cloud in the blue sky with vertigo in front of the infinite immensity but with a feeling of belonging to the natural environment, bound to the ground with gravity. We are not so far from what Pausal reached on their debut EP, but with the use of a guitar. It's a really fulfilling and relaxing track and you could easily fall asleep peacefully while listening to it.

"Guerre silence" is much more radical, fingerstyle and percussive, with an arresting melancholic sense of loss. A perfect opening for the darkness of the first half or "Nom de Plume", close to the most ambient side of Gastr del Sol, until the light progressively reappears as if we were leaving slowly a dense and deep pine forest before returning to an open icy landscape in the middle of winter.

The opening and closing tracks are two extremes between which ones Jérôme Boutinot tries to develop his writing and I think the first half of this EP is the most unique and stirring one.