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TRACK LIST: 1. Scapegoat-1 7:32 2. Scapegoat-2 4:32 3. Electric Cell Mutations 7:42 4. Skuld 6:42 5. Soundfrieze 7:42 6. The Ladybug and the Cockchafer 5:55 7. The Taste of Filth 11:32 8. Portrait de Famille 9:09 9. Solitude 5:28 LINEUP: Louis de Mieulle – bass; keyboards Casimir Liberski – keyboards Matt Garstka – drums
Prolusion. Musician and composer Louis de MIEULLE has his background from France, where he got his education and was a part of the local music scene prior to relocating to the US a few years back. In the US he has formed and is a member of several band constellations, and has also instigated a solo career, with two albums to his name so far. "Defense Mechanisms" is the first of these, and was self-released in 2011.
Analysis. The most notable aspect of this production to take initial note of is that this is an instrumental excursion, and the second one is that this is a production primarily aimed towards a jazz-interested audience. While there are tendencies in other directions, the compositions on this album will by and large be much more at home in the jazz department than in any others. As such a certain fondness for instrumental jazz is a prerequisite to be able to enjoy the material presented here. Just about all the compositions here revolve around certain key features. Mieulle's bass provides a solid backbone to the proceedings, perhaps with a tad more room for bass soloing than on other jazz albums made by a trio constellation, and his main style of delivery is a tight and compact one. A more booming and dominant aspect of the bass guitar is presented on occasion, and more careful resonating notes, often supplementing in establishing a more unnerving or a warmer and organic atmosphere, are the main alternate modes of delivery presented. Drummer Garstka gives an emphasis to the tight and controlled aspect of this production, the tight and interwoven cooperation between bass and drums throughout possibly a reason for Mieulle himself to draw certain parallels towards math rock as far as this specific production goes. The use of repeated themes and cyclical arrangements also adding a certain emphasis to this dimension. Pianist Liberski is arguably the star of this production however. The manner in which he shifts between tight, controlled movements and more free-flowing and improvisational escapades adds life to these compositions, a feeling of liberty and freedom reigned in and then let loose. While bass and drums ultimately set the standard for the territories explored, it's the manner in which the piano movements hover on top of that backbone that creates the greater amount of nerve and tension here, in addition to the supplemental keyboards that is. Especially in the first half of this CD additional keyboards and sounds are used to further enrich the moods and atmospheres explored, at times used in a manner that does add a touch of jazz rock to the proceedings. Personally I was most taken by these compositions, and the opening threesome of Scapegoat-1, Scapegoat-2 and Electric Cell Mutations are the tracks I'd recommend jazz rock fans to lend an ear to.
Conclusion. Instrumental jazz with the piano as the central instrument and with a distinct bassist given room to shine is what Louis de Mieulle provides us on his first solo production "Defense Mechanisms". Many of the songs explore moods of a darker and subtly unnerving kind, and do touch upon jazz rock-oriented territories on occasion, too. Ultimately, this is a production with much more jazz than rock to it however, and those with an interest for instrumental jazz trios with drums, bass and piano as the key instruments would appear to be the main audience for this disc.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: May 6, 2015
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