(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Friday, December 3, 2010

CD review - Pas Chic Chic, 12" (2010)

Sometimes, I'm a psychedelic junkie. My habit is so well established that I've lost some of my sensitivity to classic head music like early Pink Floyd or Tangerine Dream. The Valleys Stoner recently gave me a taste, but didn't really send me far enough into inner space, but Canadian band Pas Chic Chic's latest EP, 12", hit me hard.

Pas Chic Chic is the latest permutation of musicians from a rich Montreal music scene, including members from Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Set Fire to Flames, and Fly Pan Am. I've enjoyed Godspeed You! Black Emperor before, but Pas Chic Chic has a different feel, less progressive and moody.

12" is only a couple of songs, but it's still a good 26 minutes of fun. The first track, Allez Vous Faire Influencer is old school Krautrock, in the vein of NEU! or Can with touches of Brian Eno. About halfway through, there's a section reminiscent of Gary Numan's In Cars. The steady beat and electronic sound move the song forward as the melody wraps on itself. It's repetitive like a mantra, but the sound shifts and builds.

The second song is actually a two and a half minute ambient interlude and then a longer piece, Premier Souffle. This was what I needed. A low electronic drone note builds and modulates. After plenty of time to appreciate that, a retro organ sound comes in. There are hazy tatters of almost-feedback at the edges of this sonic soundscape. It grows into something a bit like Pink Floyd's Saucerful of Secrets, somewhere between Let There Be More Light and Set the Controls For the Heart of the Sun. There's still an underlying electronic flavor to the groove that keeps it surprising. Like any good trip music, the song evolves over time offering new facets at every turn.

12" motivated me to hunt down Pas Chic Chic's earlier work, specifically their 2007 album Au Contraire. This had some psychedelic moments, some pretty songs, as well as some experimental noise. It was well worth purchasing for my collection, but it doesn't quite have the grandeur of 12".

I'm looking forward to what Pas Chic Chic comes up with next. Sip a Belgian Quadrupel (from Koningshoeven), drop the lights, and put on the headphones.

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