- ‘Sous L’Arber’ sounds like a mess, but it’s one of the most exhilarating tracks of the year. Guillaume Coutu Dumont is no stranger to messes—his debut album Face a L’est released a couple of months ago was admirable but just as often unfocused, not quite packing the punch necessary for a long-player. Thankfully, the tracks on Petits Djinns sprawl but never meander in the same way.
‘Sous L’Arber’ is built around chimes that recall 'Brutalga Square’, but in contrast to the single-minded and severe Koze track, the cut bounces around a series of excursions—a kaleidoscope of hand claps, a rambling blues singer and a trumpet three sheets in the wind. The track is epic and slow to unravel, but each phrase twists so far it never quite repeats itself, leaving the melodies and instruments to stumble in and out of frame whenever they damn please. Intoxicated or intoxicating, it’s hard to separate. Let’s just call it potent.
When interviewed by RA last month, Guillaume talked a lot about his admiration of West African music, a love that is all over Petits Djinns. The last few minutes of groove on ‘Sous L’Arber’ are punctured with African horn stabs, but when Guilliame settles for a slow burn, like on the tempered b-side 'Yone,' the influence comes off as pleasant but dull. The tracks truly spark when Guillaume leave them just a little unkempt, such as on 'Chilly Willy'. Starting with cone-toasting tom-toms over a schaeffel groove, the cut hits its stride when it morphs into a 4/4-time signature, letting the West African horn section unpeel all over the second half. Sure, it’s not the cleanest transition, but it’s hard not to get swept up in it.
A Sous L’Arbe
B2 Chilly Willy