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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

PIERRE-JEAN LIEVAUX: Perception Analogique (2009)

Updated: Jun 19, 2020

Completely remarkable in its genre; Perception Analogique is the typical example of an album that makes us tuck up the ears

1 A Lucie Nogènes 8:52

2 Les Sens de la Citronnelle 5:04

3 Là, Derrière les Mûres 8:16

4 Oh, Pulsage Sage 5:10

5 Chanvrie Sunday 5:56

6 Plaztik Désoeuvré 5:58

7 Sous les Chalets, il Neige 16:20

8 Cry Babychurch 4:22

(CD 60:00) (V.F.)


I don't like to talk about something that I don't like. I find this prejudicial for the artist, the writer or the film-maker. In fact, it's not because I don't like it that it is not inevitably good! And nevertheless, I am going to speak to you about Pierre-Jean Lievaux! By respect for Olivier Briand, a chap that I like, and for the Patch Work Music association, which makes enormous efforts to make the French EM known, and no matter the genres outside its borders. Therefore I am going to talk, for a few lines, about this writer, film-maker at his hours, and experimentalist musician who signed a sonic quadrilogy about the concept of the perception where the dissonance and the cacophony express themselves much better than Kate Bush in her most beautiful ethereal ballads. PERCEPTION ANALOGIQUE is an invitation from Pierre-Jean Lievaux to take the shuttle for THE endless journey. And at times, I so wished that this end was near.

A Lucie Nogènes starts things up with an immersive wave filled of prismic particles and of parallel voices. We hear a strange aquatic vocabulary gurgling hoarse psalms while synth waves, with tones as supernatural as cosmic, glide over a structure which fills, as the seconds flee, its 9 minutes with scattered beatings and hollow breaths. The streaks and the cosmic dialects, as well as the lunar orchestrations, remind me a little of these moments from Jean-Michel Jarre's interstellar moods. It's not really bad, but it's really necessary to put yourself into it to appreciate the slightest bit of it. And you will have to do this all over the 60 minutes that last the album. Let's take Les Sens de la Citronnelle! At first glimpse we don't notice this fine intrusive melody which swirls like a dream. We only hear these breaths filled of white noises, of gongs and of always scattered carillons. All this with some noises of rattlers, pantings and hollow winds. And nevertheless… Là, Derrière les Mûres is a blaring ambient phase where noises, drones and carillons feed the escape. I was no longer able to hear more. Even if its second half offers a purer side with breaths of flutes and Tibetan wind instruments which irritate the kicks of millipedes. It's an obligated passage if we want to discover the surprising Oh, Pulsage Sage which is a superb and very psychedelic down-tempo with good percussions and a throbbing line of bass which hammer a slow tempo of which the strong measures knock out an always fascinating fauna as organic as inorganic. This is a big surprise that we don't expect, that we don't even hope for. Less violent, Chanvrie Sunday is at the sound image of Là, Derrière les Mûres. Plaztik Désoeuvré is an ambient track with blades of synth which criss-cross and weave a very tight sound mosaic, there where sings a solitary flute and crackle the thousands of insects' footsteps. This is on the verge of being bearable, while the first seconds of Sous les Chalets, il Neige are simply not. Still there it is necessary to persevere if we want to hear this delicious choir pierced this thick wall of shrill tones. The effect becomes then surrealist. We wonder on which album, on which music of Pierre-Jean Lievaux we have fell. Certainly the white noises persist. We even hear a strange derailment of organic tones, as well as some singings of allegorical birds. And surprise; everything is more harmonious, even the lapping of water which make us frown just at knowing that we are suppose to be in winter. The whole thing, and especially the laughter that come from all sides in a comic sheath of macaques, bring me closer to the psychedelic madness of Pink Floyd. There are always these voices which whisper the incomprehensibility, which sing the worship for the dissonance and these flutes to the singings so sibylline which transpire all the angelic cacophony of this piece of music that would have made a great hit in the psychedelic years. And following an American political speech, a totally off-the-wall rhythm leads the last minutes of Sous les Chalets, il Neige to the edges of a native clanic trance which amazes as much as enchants in this universe always full of surprises, of discoveries. And it's doubtless the biggest magnetism of this album. From the unexpected where Aphrodite's Child, Pink Floyd and Vangelis cross their bacchanalia symphonies into a mishmash where the delight persists behind every crash, behind every incongruity. Cry Babychurch continues in this vein of sonic debauchery that is the second portion of Sous les Chalets, il Neige. This is totally crazy, but we end up finding that good! Even that we find a very beautiful ethereal melody there which paints a halo over this noise all the same rather lively.

I don't like to talk about something I don't like! Especially when I eventually end by liking it. PERCEPTION ANALOGIQUE is the typical example of an album that makes us tuck up the ears while we did not even cross the third part of its dial. By respect for my friends at Patch Work Music, I had to persist, and I eventually found an album as fascinating as interesting where the noises and the tumult homogenize in order to develop some charms outside conventions. We have to give credit to Pierre-Jean Lievaux who, brick by brick, manages to build a wall of abstracted that makes bloom a music which transcends the antennas of our perception into a symphony of sounds all the same rather attractive. Delirious, delicious and completely remarkable in its genre!

Sylvain Lupari (July 18th, 2014) ***½**

Available at Patch Work Music

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