Montreal’s Régis Victor’s Dix-sept titres de la République du Civou is unlike anything I’ve heard before. Split into two halves, face jaune et face bleue, the album stabs its way through a musique concrète jungle in the dark, poking glittering eyes with a heated sword.
The album opens with Zinc, a dischordant argument between rattling percussion and ascending flute shepard tones (the ascending staircase illusion of music). Saxophones and infrequent piano notes attempt to moderate, but the flute and skins are persistently stubborn.
On Doug, wooden mallets smash with abandon; warbling, hesitant synths dips their toes into far waters only to slink away behind black trees. The caucophony is punctured by the descent of glassy bells, droning racecar zoom of samples, and grumbling assorted vocal snippets.
Halfway through each song, the elements shift like slithering snakes, coiling under roots and becoming unrecognizable—on Lampagisto, pleading synths submit to nimble, choppy fingers plucking a detuned guitar, while rough, almost obnoxious flutes bleat insistently.
When vocals do appear on Isosceles Not A Centipede, they sit removed and docile behind a strange sound that reminds me of a rubberized machine.
The album’s first half—face jaune—is urgent, anxious, confusing, yet confident. It drills and drives towards the album’s second half—face bleue—which carries a deferential playfulness, drawing more from electronic instrumentation than the wild acoustics of the former.
Refreshingly abrasive and unforgivingly complex, Dix-sept titres de la République du Civou is a palate cleanser.
Best Tracks: Zinc, Doug, Lampagisto, and Shhh
Grab (or stream) the rest of the album for free at Free Music Archive.