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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Deux Maisons - For Sale (Clean Feed, 2015) *****

By Stef

This is a strange and small house that "Deux Maisons" is trying to sell us. It has "Two Balconies", "No Dogs", "Two Living Rooms", "No Bedroom", "Three Clean Bathrooms" and "Two Kitchens". The sellers are Luis Vicente on trumpet, Théo Ceccaldi on violin and viola, Valentin Ceccaldi on cello, and Marco Franco on drums.

To me, it is one of the revelations of the year, and I will be reviewing some more soon. Already with the opening track, "Two Balconies", the tone is set. The strings sound like wind blowing through cracks, fierce, and wild, and the drums sounds like irregular rain drops falling on the window, while, in stark contrast, the muted trumpet is peaceful and warm, almost Lester Bowie-like, as if you're looking outside from the comfort of a heated room. It's very evocative, it's full of contrast and depth, and you can listen to it forever.

"No Dogs" starts playfully, with little intense sounds interacting like crazy, full of sudden changes and dramatic exclamation marks, turning into a very dense somber piece, with some probably unplanned "La Vie En Rose" sequence by the viola, and all that in the course of five minutes.

"Two Living Rooms" starts quietly, with the viola leading the scene, pizzi cello, irregular percussive emphasis by the drums, and distant muted trumpet. It's a scene of quiet homeliness, if not for the inherent tension that makes the four instruments evolve on different levels but within the same sonic space, built around a quiet centre like a lull in a conversation and gradually the discussion heats up again, to reach quite some excitement near the end.

This is fireworks music - and actually some of Franco's drumming sounds like fireworks on "Three Clean Bathrooms" - because you listen in awe to the new explosions of sound than unwind before your ears, that surprise by their strange beauty and captivating unfurling of new timbres and colors, but above all, with an intensity and dynamics that keep your ears glued to the headsets.

How often can you listen to this? I've listened to it dozens of times, maybe fifty times already, and it becomes even more powerful as you get more acquainted with the music and the band's specific style.

This will not be for everyone's ears, but for those with an open mind, this is an absolute must-have. I always keep ranting on about musical vision, and having a unique voice, and a coherence of sound, etc. ... well, this album is a great example of this. Don't miss it.


Mulot said...

I wonder if the "Two Houses" (that are twinned, on the cover) refer to the respective homeland of both pairs of musicians, Portugal and France.

Stef said...

Yes, indeed : the Ceccaldi brothers are from France, Luis Vicente and Marco Franco from Portugal.