Monday, March 11, 2013

The Black Metal Nick Drake: Alcest - Les Écailles De Lune

Sometimes you need in your life a music which takes you away from all this reality - unconcerned with the here and now and emotionally affecting you in a way which surpasses language and subject.

The second Alcest album,  Les Écailles De Lune (2010) is that kind of music. 

Essentially a one-man band, Alcest's roots are in black metal, but by the time of Ecailles the blast beats and growling are only one element of the music. They jostle for space with some lovely fluid post-rock guitar lines which Dave Pajo would be proud of, together with a lot of love for early 90's shoegaze (see Solar Song below for the best example of this, as well as the most accessible moment on the album).

One of the criticisms frequently levelled at then-shoegaze was that it had nothing to say - behind the fringes and the mumbling there was nothing but beautiful noise. Intentionally or not, Neige (Monsieur Alcest) deals with this by providing a meta-narrative for his songs, all of which address ... and this is where it gets interesting ... his nostalgia for childhood experiences of another world.

In fact, he insists on the validity of these experiences when questioned in interviews. To revise an old Spacemen 3 quote, Neige's approach seems to be having transcendental experiences to make to music to have transcendental experiences to

This wouldn't be the first time an artist has used a frame like this as the basis for their work, whether we're talking religious devotion or the UFO reveries of late-period Philip K Dick. And it lends the whole enterprise a greater degree of intensity, an introspective self-sufficiency which elevates Alcest from middle-class freakout to something approaching beautiful, melancholic outsider art.

Oh, and best thing I've heard so far this year.

No comments:

Post a Comment