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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Frederic & Olivier Folie à Deux (2023)

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

Dark, industrial, romance and drama over vivid rhythms. It's as good as MiDi BiTCH

1 Labyrinthe du savois 6:24

2 Tu ne vas pas en mourir! 5:52

3 NEU!lich in der U-Bahn 8:24

4 Soleil froid 7:00

5 Le pré de mon oncle 2:03

6 Jette mois dans un lac bleu 4:02

7 Le frigo plein 4:18

8 Le vieux monsieur personne 4:41

9 Enfin seul 7:00

(DDL 49:47) (V.F.)

(Industrial E-Rock, Cinema)

Having become a fan of MiDi-BiTCH, what was his music like when completed with the guitarist from Fredy Engel's former band Sankt Otten, Oliver Klemm? FOLIE À DEUX is the second opus from the duo Frederic & Olivier. I had vaguely listened to their first album/download, Zero, released just 2 years ago. At the time, I was also discovering and taming the MiDi- BiTCH universe. Except that, after such solid albums as Sequenz and Machina, I wondered what the artistic scope of FOLIE À DEUX really was. And I was pleasantly surprised. We're certainly not on the scale of MB's last 2 albums, released apart from those produced by Cyclical Dreams, but we're not far off. There's a certain correlation to be made in terms of the ambiences of a dystopian universe proposed in the German keyboardist's music. In fact, our ears are literally immersed in his dark industrial universe. In a musical production that is top-notch, with layers of rhythms, melodies and arrangements that follow one another and/or pile up in tracks whose intensity is enough to make a rock shudder, and where intensity is the key word. All in all, I've discovered a good album that hides a few pearls of subjugation.

A morose chant, the timbre is nasally, comes from the vibrations of a cadenced chord, of which the strings carve out a slow, funereal procession to open Labyrinthe du savois. Percussive effects, encircled in an envelope of misty gas, swirl around this structure, which grows in intensity, both in the static violence of its rhythm and in its arrangements and emotional envelope. Some of the chords stretch out in nasal pads, creating a reverberating effect that accentuates the dramatic flight of this procession, to which the subtle lamentations of an electric guitar are grafted. The melodic fabric takes shape in this kind of chaos with the arrival of more crystalline chords that tinkle and sparkle in short, slightly spasmodic linear verses. This jerky flow generates a source of repetitive echo around the 4-minute mark, when Labyrinthe du savois exposes a downtempo structure with the arrival of sober percussions that resonate with their woody texture. This first track in FOLIE À DEUX aptly depicts the musical value of Frederic & Olivier's second opus. The 2 musicians superimpose textures of sound in a musical envelope where every detail nestles in ears looking to hear more. And they know how to pamper our ears! Here, as in the other 8 tracks, the rhythm grows slowly, the arrangements rise with intensity and a distant, almost ghostly melody, born of guitar riffs, titillates a listening ear that wants to hear again. It's a question of knowing if you've heard correctly. This is the German duo's trap, as they quietly weave their power of persuasion. Tu ne vas pas en mourir! follows with a heavy and slow, but quite catchy rhythm. The sequences radiate sizzling noises like a radioactive rhythmic chant, and the bass sequence propels the vibrating, fluttering rhythm that gives the impression of oscillating between two speeds, while the orchestrations seem to slow its momentum and the percussions strike against the beat. A keyboard sows notes whose tinkling astray a possible melody, which instead burrows into the frightened howls of a metallic synth/guitar fusion. Electronic percussions sow chaos and sound the charge, giving a floating rock impulse to a structure that slyly increases its rhythmic velocity to reach a good up-tempo that could galvanize the action scenes in a Mission Impossible-style movie. The longest track on this FOLIE À DEUX, NEU!lich in der U-Bahn is also its most beautiful. Stemming from industrial winds on the edge of a dock, the first melody clings to a guitar-driven ballad. Our ears gorge on this industrial-flavored folk-rock, with its surrounding noises and strange spectral chants that melt into nature. Little by little, NEU!lich in der U-Bahn turns into a dark rock, with those strange hums whose origins remain unclear, becoming more and more catchy. I dare you not to tap your foot here! The orchestrations are woven in such a way as to induce shivers in the soul. And the guitar throws those solos that have that Manuel Göttsching flavor over electronic rock propelled by a motoric rhythm. We're in @shra territory, with a hint of Harald Nies-style of electronic rock. It's very good, the solos are very powerful. And when blended with the orchestrations and voices layers, it's thrilling. Direction best EM tracks in 2023!

Soleil Froid imposes a pulsating rhythm in which a series of moiré arpeggio lines are laid down, undulating vividly like reflections of the sun on a large bed of bumpy ice. The structure unfolds its intensity over a minimalist concept, with the repetitive beats of the sequencer and percussions constantly accentuating the music's rhythmic velocity. Arpeggios scroll by at ear-splitting speed, in a deafening spiral that is in symbiosis with the intensity of the rhythm. Le Pré de mon Oncleis a fascinating track. A good ballad in which we can easily imagine the dance of a princess dressed all in white, pirouetting under the mocking song of an uncle humming a bucolic tune with a vocoder welded to his throat. We're swimming in the most convincing artistic delirium. Here, like in Jette mois dans un lac bleu, and these sequences welded together in melodic rhythm are undulating without respite, like waves trapped in an eternal whirlpool hungry for sequences. Here, too, the structure is rigidly minimalist. Frigo Plein is bursting with energy, with an assemblage of percussions which strike out in all directions. We're in The Cure-style rock noir, with an energetic structure that nestles a barely perceptible melody, shuddering on convulsive keyboard series, that takes on a chill-inducing dimension with the accompanying arrangements. It's hyper-lively, with a little something in the percussions that sound like some organic or voices effects, forcing us to listen even more to the percussive dynamism of FOLIE À DEUX. Le Vieux Messieur Personne is a morose ballad with a guitar, sometimes acoustic and sometimes electric, that sows its pensive chords on the back of a synth and its lamentations of lonely, of forgotten souls. These cries are sometimes sensitive and touching. Especially in this sea of restless rhythms. Percussion blasts startle us in the gloomy, atmospheric opening of Enfin Seul. They sow the seeds of the rhythm to come with a rhythmic outburst that flirts with anarchy, tracing abrupt stops and starts in a track that becomes spasmodic. The flow also reminds me of The Cure and their albums Seventeen Seconds and Faith. The synthesizer throws in some beautiful lines of dreamy melodies. They roll in loops, avoiding the violent, the sly blows of the percussions, in the floating absorbent cotton of the orchestrations. A strange track that perfectly completes a creative album whose black tinge and vision of French romanticism flirt pleasantly with the industrial hint of the MiDi-BiTCH universe. A fine discovery with a track, NEU!lich in der U-Bahn, that's definitely worth the price of its download!

Sylvain Lupari (August 28th, 2023) *****

Available at MiDi-BiTCH Bandcamp

(NB: Text in blue are links you can click on)

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