Here's a rare occurrence 'round these parts: a music video premiere. And a 22 minute video at that! We don't just clean the cobwebs out of our decrepit theatre for anyone, however, so rest assured knowing that the spectacle before ye is well worth your while.
The track and video in question forms the entirety of Side B of Live Improvisations Vol. 1, the forthcoming, well, improvisational release from French anonymous genre-bending and convention-eschewing collective Non Serviam, out May 1st on the (always stellar) Trepanation Recordings. If you're already familiar with Non Serviam's prior work, "Improvisation 2. Take 1. Ce Qui Dure" doesn't stray too far from what you may be expecting. The whole affair is wrapped up in a distantly baroque swaddle, but the telltale hints of post-metal by way of doom by way of industrial by way of avant-garde are as present and impactful as always. The video itself features a series of seemingly disassociated locations and events--not a narrative per se, so much as juxtapositions that mirror the overall spirit and emotion of the particular moment.
But! Before I scare you away with my ramblings, we slumbering scribes highly recommend that you fire up "Improvisation 2. Take 1. Ce Qui Dure" post-haste. As always, we'll meet you on the other side.
There's a distinctly somber tone on display here--not tragic, so much as melancholy. Indeed, as Non Serviam states: "we especially like this track, it’s the saddest piece of music we’ve ever made." As a longer piece, this sense of sadness grows and swells, building across the breadth with a seemingly nonchalant intent. The vocals, which deliver in echoed chant form an 1875 poem by one René-François Sully Prudhomme, feel a million miles away. This quality is particularly accentuated by the extended instrumental passages between recitation--a series of pit stops en route to a certain unanticipated emotional rawness.
Says Non Serviam in regards to the video itself: "We have benefited from the generosity of a good friend of ours who is a cameraman and who has let us pick and choose among the fantastic rushes he has shot around the world besides his work. We hope you will enjoy them as much as we did." The entire package is an arrangement seemingly built on non-sequiturs, and it works quite well, for reasons I seemly can't describe. The increasingly hallucinogenic vocals are matched with footage from Abel Gance's 1919 J'Accuse, followed by a sped-up shot of the camera moving down a long and winding forest river. The build into near-industrial waters at the midpoint illustrates (and is illustrated by) a fighter jet slowly rolling across the screen. An electronic trip-hip beat emerges for a moment in the back half, a beating heart set over unbroken blue water, and then an image of green water with a flocks of what I can only assume are some kind of stork. The images, somehow, always fit the music, and if that isn't a success given the improvisational nature of the track in question, I frankly don't know what is. At 22 minutes, this video is quite engrossing. To reiterate: it is an experience highly worth your while.
Non Serviam are having quite the year, with three releases planned in the next few months. Check out th pre-orders for Live Improvisations - Vol.1 and Work, both out May 1st on the aforementioned Trepanation Recordings, as well as a whole 'nother album entitled Le Coeur Bat, out April 23rd on Code666/Aural Music (CD/2xLP/Digital) and Trepanation Recordings (Cassette). And, while you familiarize yerself with those forthcoming offerings, I highly recommend throwing "Improvisation 2. Take 1. Ce Qui Dure" on in the background. It sets, as ye shall discover, quite the mood.
Non Serviam - Live Improvisations Vol. 1,will be released May 1st from Trepanation Recordings
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.
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