The name of the artist ‘La French’ had me thinking I would be listening to a world music band, a traditional sound of street music in Paris perhaps, but the music itself couldn’t be more alien to the image of a man dressed with a black and white striped shirt wearing a beret and playing an accordion.
The name is misleading, the music is contemporary and experimental incorporating what sounds like the use of computerised transitions, combined with live instrument overlaps, creating a meditative ambiance with tones, flows and vibrations that allure your mind into positive and negative feelings.
This makes the experience of listening to the album emotionally consuming and in some ways tiring. While some tracks are pleasant to listen to with a harmony of various sounds, other tracks deliberately set the instruments against each other disturbing your ear drums and sabotaging the peace you acquire from the other tracks. Once you allow the music to send your mind into a transient space which happened to me pretty quickly, your imagination begins to wonder.
You are introduced to the album with a quality of sound being spun by a record player with an element of background static which introduces you to the many plays of nostalgia throughout the album. Shortly after the first track had begun I began to dream about the final scene of Vanilla Sky were character David Aames (played by Tom Cruise) falls from a skyscraper, and soon time begins to slow down and his life flashes before his eyes the closer he comes to the ground. This track feels like it has the power to suspend you infinitely in time.
Nostalgic trips are used regularly throughout, prompting you to fall into forgotten memories. Sometimes used in the beginning of a track to set the scene of your imagination for the entire song. The most obvious device La French use for this is a xylophone affect you would hear in lullaby-esque, wind up sound makers as a toddler.
La French also show an inspiration of nature injecting bird song which prompts you to think about birds under a forested canopy. As otherworldly voices whisper in the background I envisage the allure of Sirens calling me to the depths of the sea adding an element of horror.
These methods of capturing memento and Masonic sign language into music, encourages me to describe La French as an experimental, theatrical production of sounds that try to provoke an emotional response from its listeners, taking them two and fro into the comfort of your childhood memories and then to the darkness of your primal fears.
Words Oly Hamilton
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