Monday, February 16, 2009

Sylvain Chauveau – The Black Book of Capitalism

Originally released on the Noise Museum label in 2000, Sylvain Chauveau’s first album is a work of structural ambition and variety. An approach that he has simplified and refined in the later half of this decade. The title refers to a French collection of essays published in 1998 in reaction to The Black Book of Communism from the previous year. The classical pieces tend toward the stoicism, but with little direct reference to the text. The chamber group accompanies his piano with viola, cello, bass and accordion with either ceremonial progression or with a drone that isolates it in the center. Chauveau breaks from this dominant mode with tracks like “Géographie intime” that edges closer to a Mogwai-like post rock with its creeping bass and organ and extended ambient extro. The stolen Depeche Mode sample from the following track is a nod to his later album of DM covers Down to the Bone. It’s a reissue that will surprise folks who know Chauveau only from his most recent and considerably more stark works.


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