Genre/Influences: Experimental, Minimal-Electro.
Format: Digital, CD, Box (DCD + Vinyl + Book).
Background/Info: French duo Eliane P en Philippe Fichot is back on track unleashing their first new album since “Baroque Equinox” (2017). Fichot has now been busy for 43 (!) years, but has never abandoned the original approach of the project, always ‘committed to night, lust and shadow’. The new work is inspired by the idea of a camera, which might record psychic states, but ‘camera’ also refers to the Italian word ‘chamber’. Both meanings together are the basis of the work, ‘a mental chamber’!
Content: Die Form is one of these bands with a very proper sound you can easily recognize. And even if this new opus sounds like one of the most Experimental productions of the band in years, it remains easily recognizable. You rapidly can feel darkness emerging; Die Form never has been the kind of ‘happy music’-composer. The songs sound like decomposed fragments, which have been reassembled and mixed with a few danceable passages. The main part of the lyrics have been sung in French. The themes aren’t always easy to seize, Die Form inviting the listener into a strange cabinet of reflection and thoughts. A kind of philosophical poetry carried by music. Eliane P. still injects all her grace and sensuality while Philippe’s way of singing remains tenebrous.
+ + + : When you’re active for more than 40 years it’s pretty understandable you can’t repeat yourself again and again. The previous productions of the band already revealed a slow progression towards more Experimental and Abstract fields, but also to Neo-Classic elements. “Mental Camera” sounds a bit like summarizing the influences from the last 20-30 years. “Insomniac Activity” and “Black Nerves (We Never Die)” both remind us of the more danceable side of the band. I also have to mention “Au Coeur De La Nuit (Mix 2)”, which has something Experimental-Pop-like with a very dark touch on top. The sound is elaborated featuring numerous effects, sweeps and dark noises. It has been mixed with a slow rhythm. This work has something pretty visual, which always has been part of Die Form -and illustrated by the massive book featured at the limited box-edition. Eliane’s enigmatic, graceful and sensual timbre of voice remains a delicious and essential element of the work. More than ever before Die Form has found a balance between their influences.
– – – : Die Form no longer releases albums for the dancefloor and that’s somewhat a pity. This kind of work is more complex and sophisticated, but also harder to catch. The band’s homepage refers to David Lynch to explain “Mental Camera” and I think the connection makes sense. It’s an intriguing work, but nearly impossible to grasp.
Conclusion: I can’t say “Mental Camera” has totally convinced me, but Die Form definitely remains a very single experience in its genre. This album will rather appeal to Experimental Electro lovers.
Best songs: “Insomniac Activity”, “Black Nerves (We Never Die)”, “Au Coeur De La Nuit (Mix 2)”, “Automatique”, “Théâtre De La Cruauté”.