Izvrstan francuski dark jazz.
––This new full-length of the cult French Dark Jazz collective is the follow up of the highly acclaimed 2011 output "Métamanoir" - the second release for the German experimental music label Denovali. Halfway from their debut "Parole de Navarre"'s ambient and drone driven soundscapes and the more orchestrated "Métamanoir", this new collection of tracks is following their quest for dreamy but mysterious places.
A hint of 50s cool jazz, a truckload of noise and melodies, again tiny references to Twin Peaks' series soundtrack and some ghostly and deep tone voices: the Dale Cooper Quartet pushes the genre Dark Jazz towards other spaces. The album is further enriched by appearences of guest musicians such as Alicia Merz (BIRDS OF PASSAGE), Zalie Bellacicco, Ronan Mac Erlaine and Gaëlle Kerrien (YANN TIERSEN) on vocals.
Recorded in Brest, Britanny, France, this album always conveys an atmosphere of strangeness and beauty, the trademark of each of the Quartet's records. Based upon the live experiences of the band and their everlasting love for the local landscapes, "Quatorze Pièces de Menace" is as striking, deep, fascinating and beautiful as a storm in the middle of the Atlantic - denovali.com/dalecooper/
DALE COOPER QUARTET & THE DICTAPHONES is one of the most special acts in the field of dark jazz and doom jazz. Besides acts like BOHREN UND DER CLUB OF GORE, DAVID LYNCH and THE KILIMANJARO DARKJAZZ ENSEMBLE, DALE COOPER QUARTET & THE DICTAPHONES are without any doubt the act that creates perfect soundscapes – one the one hand for movies, but on the other hand also for dark nights as well as for life in general. Now they are back with they third album called Quatorze Pièces De Menace.
With Quatorze Pièces De Menace, which is out this week on Denovali Records, the cult French dark jazz collective follows up of their highly acclaimed album Métamonoir (2011). Again this album is following their quest for perfect dreamy but at the same time mysterious places. Imagine cool 1950s cool jazz, a truckload of noise and melodies, the Twin Peaks series soundtrack and some ghostly and deep tone voices. Dark jazz in that takes you to other spaces. Quatorze Pièces De Menace is further enriched by appearances of guest musicians like Gaelle Kerrien (YANN TIERSEN) and Alicia Merz (BIRDS OF PASSAGE) on vocals. A fact that – again – speaks for massive quality, right?
Recorded in Brest, Britanny, France, this album always conveys an atmosphere of strangeness and beauty, the trademark of each of DALE COOPER QUARTET & THE DICTAPHONES‘ records. Based upon the live experiences of the band and their everlasting love for the local landscapes, Quatorze Pièces de Menace is as striking, deep, fascinating and beautiful as a storm in the middle of the Atlantic.If you are on searching for perfect soundtrack music: you really need to check out this one! - Robert Helbig
Fans of Twin Peaks will know that The Dale Cooper Quartet got their name from the special FBI agent played by Kyle MacLachlan in the now classic TV show. The TP references don’t stop there though, the music on ‘Quatorze Pieces De Menace’ (spoken in my best French accent!) is the kind of dark spooky jazz that would’ve been perfect on the soundtrack to a secret third series.This is seriously moody stuff, filled with warm drones and breathy saxophone that create a real ‘50s film noir type of atmosphere, a ghostly piano sometimes creeps in from the distance and a smooth jazz singer croons in the corner of some seedy downtown bar. Even the soft klang of bass guitar seems to directly reference Angelo Badalamenti’s original Twin Peaks Score. This album has a beautiful dream-like quality but with a real sense of darkness to it, almost as if beneath all that beauty and tranquility lurks something far more sinister. - Norman Records
Although the title of the album says that we should expect fourteen pieces of menace, on the actual album we can find only eleven of them. But it doesn’t matter, because “Quatorze Pièces de Menace” is stuffed with music almost to the limit. So in this context we can’t complain about the new baby of Dale Cooper Quartet. Not so long ago, I wrote about their previous release, “Metamanoir” which turned out to be this year’s small discovery for me (although it dates back to 2011). It was just as nice that this in-depth exploration of “Metamanoir” that had already lasted a couple of weeks, coincided with the release of their newest album, so that in some way I can observe the progress of the group with a fresh eye.
After pressing the “play” button we immediately get a powerful kick in the head with an epic, over 20-minute long suite, the sort that is usually placed as the last track of a release. “Brosme en Dos–vert” is so extraordinary, because it blends the elements of the genres that probably are closest to my heart: ambient melancholy, noir–jazz anxiety, a little bit of controlled noise and this desperate atmosphere, reminiscent of two lovers on the edge of the abyss (literally or figuratively, whatever), in conflict with the whole world, having nothing to lose. Brilliant song, one of the best I’ve heard this year.
This was quite an emotional journey, so after “Brosme en Dos–vert” we get a moment of well–deserved respite. In general the feel of this track doesn’t notably differ from the first one, but technically they aren’t so overwhelming. “Nourrain Quinquet” reminds me a bit of the second track from “Metamanoir”, “Eux Exquis Acrostole”: electronic landscapes in the background, amazing saxophone, unhurried percussions and lazy, or maybe just tired, male vocals.
On the other hand, in “Calbombe Camoufle Fretin” female vocals appear and – I can’t think of a more clichéd reference – we find ourselves in Twin Peaks again, in the lousy bar where Julee Cruise murmurs her love songs. A little surprising, vivid, somewhat more positive and almost rock piece is “L’escolier Serpent Eolipile”. There’s a bit of Elvis, a bit of punk, a pinch of cocaine and… it ends after two and a half minutes. All in all I prefer when Dale Cooper is driving me into a dark pit of depression, but it’s an interesting interlude, showing a lot of creativity still slumbering inside this group. In “La Ventree Rat de Cave” the gentlemen return to the ambience of the first track, though in a less epic form. This is a sort of epilogue to the first part of the album.
And then we have “Il Bamboche Empereurs”, sensual composition with leading female vocals and warm quasi–violin phrases lashing gently on the listener as a light summer breeze. “Celadon Bafre” stands at the opposite pole, as it’s a depressing track sung in such a way as if it was the last thing the singer does before shooting his head off. “Ignescence Black–bass Recule” is again slightly “lynchesque”, but more from his “Lost Highway” period than “Twin Peaks”. Mr. Eddy, who apparently likes me for some unknown reason and Alice lustfully gazing into my eyes. A surprising curiosity is a sample from the French horror movie “Martyrs”, with a Polish lector. Then the very short piece, “Mange Tanche” and the moving finale that is “Lampyre Bonne Chere” leaving the listener with a sense of regret that this is the end of a dark, sometimes poignant, sometimes streaked with gallows humor journey.
Have you noticed that I haven’t even once referred to the German group whose name starts with a “B”? It’s because Dale Cooper on “Quatorze Pièces de Menace” is something different and comparing the French ensemble to the Bohrens would be out of place. Dale Cooper is exploring, venturing into unknown realms. In the second part of the album even the role of the saxophone is reduced to a minimum. Sure, they could remain in a cosy darkjazz pigeonhole and record another similar sounding material. I’m sure it would still have been very good. But this is not probably the ambition of these French guys. They want to uncover new territories, they want us to do it with them. And since they didn’t neglect the emotional part, as a result we received a great album, genuinely heart gripping. Oh, I won’t free myself from this Twin peaks charm for some time, that’s for sure. - Santa Sangre
The bizarre Dark Jazz cabaret has opened again. Finally, after years of waiting, the 2nd full length of the sophisticated experimental collective from France will be released. It features vocals of Gaëlle Kerrien (YANN TIERSEN) and all lovers of DAVID LYNCH movies, artists like KILIMANJARO DARKJAZZ ENSEMBLE or BOHREN UND DER CLUB OF GORE and blue cigarette smoke in dark bars will exult again.
Métamanoir sees the band shift from their smooth, minimal and instrumental landscapes on the debut record Parole De Navarre to a more lively and rich sound. Always based upon improvisation and sound research, the solo parts of their music are now embodied by vocals.
The Quartet invited several musicians and singers to record, giving a phantomatic sound with oboe, clarinet, whitewashed drones popping out of the songs. The sheer chants of Zalie Bellacicco – who appeared on the debut album - the deep tone of Ronan Mac Erlaine and the crystal-clear voice of Gaëlle Kerrien (Yann Tiersen's singer on his last Mute album) interlaces with the still dark jazz of the band.
Always influenced by classic 50s cool jazz and the more contemporary noise and experimental styles, the Quartet and his guests built a dreamy card castle who swing and grow deeply rooted in fierce strangeness of David Lynch movies.
Métamanoir has been recorded in their native Britanny country, deep west of France, a land swept by climatic inconstancy fed by wind, rain and mystery. A place which gives the music an overwhelming but beautiful darkness.
Denovali Records · den110
The more things stay the same, the more they change: As one would have expected (and hoped), all nine rhythmically driven and electronically enriched pieces on Metamanoir once again hark back to the fundamentals of darkjazz. By endlessly repeating these basic building blocks as a stoic loop, things lean towards abstraction and a dark, warm and open sound panorama. Despite the dizzying depth of its background structures, the Dale Cooper Quartet always provides for ample breathing space as well, creating the impression as though the entire performance were taking place within a sort of huge hall. Resulting from this is a marked contrast between intimate arrangements and an expansive sound - an impression which is even more pronounced in the live situation, as visitors to the Quartet's gigs can readily testify.
Just like the formation's debut, Metamanoir relies heavily on a blend of subtle pads on top of a hypnotic rhythm section, muffled experimental trumpet motives and the use of guitars less as an accompaniment or support than an atmospheric element. And yet, this element can also, as on the nervously rolling „Mon Tragique Chartreuse“ develop a subtly destructive power and depress a track's mood in an almost fearful way, supported in its aim by a percussive skeleton of parasitic noises and to-the-point field recordings constantly oscillating between sex and fear. And yet, subsequent „La Terrible Palais“ aptly balances these sensations and eases the tension by counterpointing it with a distant chorale and upfront, warm and rich vocals.
The far more significant role awarded to both male vocals constitutes a surprising and unexpected change on the Dale Cooper Quartet's second LP. The band have managed to sail clear of both jazz- and experimental clichés and turned the lyrics into a perfectly organic element, which never relegates the instrumental contributions to the status of mere interludes. Subtlety is vital here: Just like the cover, the music relies on highly effective minimalism. - Hellmut Neidhardt
It seems uninteresting releases from Denovali Records just don't happen. Another feather in their cap is Dale Cooper Quartet & The Dictaphones who, like their label mates The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation and The Kilimanjaro Jazz Ensemble, are a modern, experimental 'jazz' outfit, with a take on the genre as though they are writing a film score. As such, it's not necessarily songs they write, but compositions. Make no mistake, this is music as art form more than anything else.
While modern touches are incorporated in the electric guitars, ambient electronics and echoing keyboards, this is an album deeply rooted in jazz music with its snaking horns, minimalistic drum patterns and enchanting, soulful vocals. Because of the minimalist approach, there's a staggering amount of space throughout the soundscapes. This space envelops the vocals and instruments, making efforts such as "Eux Exquis Acrostole", "Une Petit Cellier" and the phenomenally apocalyptic "Mon Tragique Chartreuse" utterly harrowing experiences.
Occasionally, the vocals don't really add that much to the compositions. The constant cries that persist throughout "Ma Insaisissable Abri" are more of a distraction than another layer upon the cinematic tale being told, which is a shame because the enclosed electronic soundscape underneath is one of the more unique of the album. It's a similar story with "Elle Agreable Rendez-Vous De Chasse"; the music itself is fantastic, especially the juxtaposing layers of distorted and clean guitars, but the "dum, dum, dum, dum..." chanting seems to have no purpose, and wears old quickly.
In the grand scheme of this album's ambitious concept, however, when you have your headphones locked in tightly and are sinking slowly in the world of "Metamanoir", these minor complaints are only ever that: Minor. By focusing more on the subtleties and the smaller details of the writing and production, the Dale Cooper Quartet & The Dictaphones have managed to create something simultaneously minimalistic and massive. While it has its flaws, and is perhaps slightly too epic at an hour long, nobody can deny how wonderfully constructed "Metamanoir" is. - www.rockfreaks.net/
French dark jazz collective Dale Cooper Quartet & The Dictaphones has just released their third album. I’ve been a fan since their 2006 debut (“Parole De Navarra”) because, as the quartet’s name suggests, there’s no denying the influence of Angelo Badalamenti and David Lynch on their music. And luckily, “Quatorze Pièces de Menace” continues their “quest for dreamy but mysterious places“. This is how their label Denovali describes the new album, which is now out in the U.S. (as MP3 or CD) and soon elsewhere:
“A hint of ’50s cool jazz, a truckload of noise and melodies, again tiny references to the Twin Peaks series soundtrack and some ghostly and deep tone voices: the Dale Cooper Quartet pushes the genre Dark Jazz towards other spaces. The album is further enriched by appearances of guest musicians such as Alicia Merz (Birds of Passage), Zalie Bellacicco, Ronan Mac Erlaine and Gaëlle Kerrien (Yann Tiersen) on vocals.”The DC4tet, as Christophe Mevel, Gael Loison and Yannick Martin abbreviate themselves, was so kind to talk to me about their sound and their apparent and less obvious influences. May I suggest that you first hit the play button below to listen to the album (requires Spotify) and then continue to read the interview?
WELCOME TO TWIN PEAKS: Who is Dale Cooper Quartet & The Dictaphones, and please tell me it all started over a cup of damn good coffee at the local diner?
DALE COOPER QUARTET & THE DICTAPHONES: The Quartet started in 2002 as a real Quartet for an improvisation jazz night. It was supposed to be a one-off gig with four musicians from different bands. We wanted to make a mix of Angelo Badalamenti’s soundtracks, especially Twin Peaks’s, and Bohren & Der Club of Gore, a German cult band we were listening to a lot at that moment. Nowadays there are three permanent members and various guests. Some regulars, some only for when we’re recording.
Maybe it was at a local diner that the idea appeared? We do not remember quite well. But coffee was involved, that’s for sure. And it was surely late at night.
WTTP: You mentioned you were all coming from different bands. What kind of genres did you play before?
DC4TET: We all played in various bands, mostly electronic, instrumental, post-rock with tracks based upon loops and soundscapes.
WTTP: The first track on Quatorze Pièces de Menace immediately throws the listener into the darkness, without any warning. It’s like you skip the introduction of the story and go straight to its darkest part. And for the next 21 minutes, even with your eyes open, you’ll see grim alleys, shut-down factories, haunting shadows on old brick walls… As with all of your music, it’s like you’ve scored an imaginary film. Can you describe your creative process a bit?
DC4TET: We thought it was fun to do an introduction-free record this time. And yes, it settles the rest of the record and drives the listener directly into our music. This track fits perfectly in its place and it seems natural, even though it’s the longest song we ever wrote. Classic records often have a hit song placed high on the track listing and epic tracks like this one are then placed at the end, as if to prove to the listener that the band is doing odd stuff and to underline the “experimental” side of their music. We wanted it to be different: the most “poppy” song is placed at the very end of the record.
Our creative process is sometimes slow. Some albums take years, like our first LP, and some go faster, like six months of recording for the new one. We start with a backbone and add various layers and instruments. Also the mixing is as important as the recording.
WTTP: Angelo Badalamenti and David Lynch are obvious inspirations. Can you tell me about some other influences?
DC4TET: Our musical influences are wide and various. We share common tastes but most of all: we are friends, which is the easiest for making things go further. We often says that Brittany, our homeland, also inspired us quite a lot. It is supposed to be the most rainy part of France and it is full of mysteries and gloomy characters. That’s the Twin Peaks connection, we guess.
WTTP: Which song from your entire repertoire has absolutely the strongest Twin Peaks vibe, according to you? And which song has the least?
DC4TET: “Calbombe Camoufle Fretin” on “Quatorze Pieces de Menace” has the strongest Twin Peaks vibe. And the least… maybe “Elle Agréable Rendez-Vous de Chasse” on “Metamanoir”as we tried to write a Morricone-style anthem for that one.
WTTP: I really dig your album music, so now I’m curious about your live performance. What’s a live set like?
DC4TET: We often change the line-up. The core trio: electronics, keys and two guitars often becomes a true quartet —yes, we are not a quartet anymore— with a saxophone player. And sometimes we have singers on stage. We rarely do the same songs with the same line-up twice. It is mainly because our debut gigs were based upon improvisation and because we wish to avoid routine. That also helps creating a peculiar atmosphere around the band.
Can’t wait to see you live someday. Thanks for the interview, guys!