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Jean Louis - Jean Louis CD (album) cover


Jean Louis



4.24 | 85 ratings

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Evolutionary Sleeper
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Jean Louis's self-titled debut merges avant-jazz, math rock and noise into a stylish and highly energetic whole that kicks your ass from start to finish. This three-piece, consisting of Aymeric Avice on trumpet, Joachim Florent on double bass and Francesco Pastacaldi on drums, creates an enormous sound with their heavy, groove laden melodies and tasteful electronics. The players here are really top-notch musicians and know how to play their respective instruments. The rhythm section likes to play math rock-esque grooves, while the noisy trumpet either joins in, or adds flourishes over the top with the use of a mic and effects pedals. This rhythm section rivals that of any of the great bands from the 70's, magma included and they rock out harder than most so-called rock bands out there. The drumming on this album is some of the best in any genre, but Joachim Florent on bass is really the glue that hold the band together. He is an absolute magician, changing from finger to bow and even thumping his bass with a drum stick on the song Airbus, his constantly shifting rhythms and deep grooves are really impressive to listen to and really brings a cohesiveness to the overall sound of the band.

The album starts off with the track Tourlac and what a start it is! This track really gets the album off to a rolling start with a screeching trumpet flowing into an incessant bass drum that soon gives way to a stop start section with all three instruments playing together. The bass and drums continue of a sick groove while the trumpet goes on a tangent, using electronics that sounds like multiple distorted trumpets all playing in unison. The song then moves into a quiet section with the bass playing a slow, chilled out rhythm while the trumpet adds various electronic flourishes. The track eventually builds and builds back to the original groove with a slight slowing down of tempo here and speeding up there and then winds down into a quiet ending with the trumpet and bass.

Maximator, starts with a somewhat slow and low key groove from the bass and drums which is then rudely interrupted by a howling trumpet that comes in from nowhere and transforms the song into a noisy beast. This is certainly the most aggressive track on the album and moves along quickly like a thrash metal song until its untimely end where the trumpet fades back out into the darkness. The first of the untitled tracks is a minimalist interval that serves the purpose of bringing the tracks together, whether it is successful is up to debate, but it is by no means unpleasant and is over soon enough. It consists of a heartbeat followed by speedy tapping on the cymbals and a moaning, creaking bass in the background.

The third track on the album called Zakir, begins with a serene bass playing by itself and is joined by a marching snare that is then soon accompanied by Aymeric's trumpet that plays in unison with Francesco's drums. The bass soon joins in the march and a siren then sounds announcing the start of an unexpected bass solo where Joachim's groove is embellished with tiny guitar-like effects and ghostly howls from the trumpet. The rest of the band then joins in and they play a wonderful , distorted, mid-paced groove together that eventually evolves into a into a blistering tempo that really makes the heart pump and then back into a quiet section with the bass thumping quietly while the trumpet plays a soft tune. The song ultimately regains its momentum and then ends with a stylish thud.

After another untitled track very similar to the first, the band performs Airbus. This is the real standout track on the album, by means of its incredible groovyness and suberb angular melodies. It launches with a groove (there's that word again!) in which all three instruments participate, and melts into a subdued free jazz-esque section until the Joachim announces the return of the marvelous math rocky rhythm that dominates much of the song with the pounding of a drumstick on his stand up bass. They continue of this super sweet groove until the trumpet plays a kind of rolling circular pattern where the music comes into a sort of free-jazz section. The drums play and the bass pulses as they build into a running start as the trumpet screams over top of them, shouting into the mic. The swinging groove returns and becomes faster and ever faster and frantically runs to the finish line, ending in a noisy mess of muddled sound.

Tranche is another terrific track that blends heavy riffs and intense jazz into a wonderful combination. The beginning is a heap of different sounds floating in and out as the bass is bowed in a steady fashion. The track progresses to a pulsating rhythm and gets really cooking about midway through, where the trumpet pumps out more guitar riffs and the the drummer constantly pounds on the snares. This song is Aymeric's finest as his trumpet soars above the constantly shifting backing rhythms.

Chasseurs En Transe is started with the marching of the snare drum and the track is set in motion by a constantly thumping bass drum. The song rolls along at a good pace with the horn screeching and wailing all over the place. This section is a real thumper that moves into one of the most swinginest sections on the album before making room for one of the free jazz-like parts of it. The track ends with the return of the original melody and a bass that fades out.

Another untitled and then the finale of the album, a song called Kasams. A song that starts with several loud bangs that shifts into a rapid tempo. The bass throbs and the trumpet plays, sounding like many, as the song then dissolves into a pulsating bass where the drums cease and eerie noises creep in and out. The tune builds back up and the drums return with a flurry of notes and beats that takes the tune to even greater heights. The band continues on a scorching pace, deconstructs it, only to build it back up again. They conclude it with a huge breakdown, a few minutes of silence, a solo trumpet and then a bass solo as an afterthought to thank the listener.

Jean Louis's debut is nothing short of spectacular and is one of the finest RIO/Avant-prog albums to be found anywhere. The band is definitely not one to be missed, with their great interplay and undeniably weighty grooves and will appeal to jazz, noise, and math rock fans. This album is an absolutely essential one for any serious collector of avant-garde music and to any prog fan in general.

Evolutionary Sleeper | 5/5 |


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