The Past Sure Is Tense
Here’s the last item from the Canadian bundle sent in January by & Records in Montréal. Compared with others in the batch, Palétuvier (Rouge) (&13) is quite a dark horse, with an opaque and mysterious feel embroiled in its shady rumblings right from the get-go. It’s also one of the more spartan records on the label, created with just one sampler, woodwinds, and percussion, to create skeletal and spine-chilling effects. Minimal clarinet and saxophone tones are underpinned by perfunctory percussive notes, and the electronic component adds a thick pallor of clammy gloom with its seething inhuman fuzz. Like Eloine and Siegel, the trio of Diane Labrosse, Philippe Lauzier and Pierre Tanguay also speak a private language between themselves, but in their case they’re more able to communicate something of their own interior cloudiness to the outside world. The theme of the record refers to a species of tropical tree, apparently characterised by its incredible hardiness and ability to sink its roots deep into the most inhospitable and watery terrain. If you’re inclined to doubt this, then take a gander here. Musically, the trio succeed in conveying a true “Heart Of Darkness” soundscape with their playing, painting a dark green hell where we can feel the moss and fungus dripping down our backs, and Werner Herzog is never more than five feet away in his questing canoe. The music also suggests the grandeur, the solitary and unknowable nature of these grand old men of the forest who probably keep the secrets of the ancients locked up in their thick bark. Truly atmospheric!