Week in Pop: Cal Fish, Halfalib, Holy Youth

Sjimon Gompers

Image still taken from Cal Fish's visual companion for Cassette Traveler.

Oiseaux-Tempête

Oiseaux-Tempête; photographed by Stephane Charpentier.

Oiseaux-Tempête; photographed by Stephane Charpentier.

France’s Oiseaux-Tempête presents a listen to their new droning, electrified single “Carnaval” featuring Mondkopf off the upcoming album available March 31 on Sub Rosa. On “Carnaval”, Oiseaux-Tempête delivers a carnival of electric-dissonance that hums & buzzes like a dark clad faire of fun, fog & mysterious intrigues. Droning notes create an atmospheric sustain as Oiseaux-Tempête creates a stormy stratosphere of their own design.

Frédéric & Stéphane of Oiseaux-Tempête shared the following insights on the new single & album:

“Now !” That was the first purpose of our trip when we decided to go to Beirut with our two friends Grégoire and Grégoire – the videoartists from As Human Pattern. Following some ‘non-planning’ route and still thinking that all borders do really suck, we crashed last year for a while in Lebanon, without any pre-conceived musical ideas, as always. Our first album (S/T, 2013) was about Greece and this nightmarish political/economical ‘crisis’ we’re still enjoying in Europa, our second opus (ÜTOPIYA?, 2015) between Istanbul-Turkey and Sicily. The idea for the third one was then to go further East into the Mediterranean basin (this is some damn cradle of civilizations, right?) and to jam with musicians from the local underground Beirut scene. In this global world surfing everyday on fear and non-sense, the best way to find or to live something is maybe sometimes just to move a bit, to re-adjust or refine your point of view – to listen, to talk, to experience, to travel if you can. At least we thought it was. Gliding.

We had some previous contacts there with Charbel Haber (Scrambled Eggs, Johnny Kafta Anti-Vegetarian Orchestra, The Bunny Tylers…) and Sharif Sehnaoui (Karkhana, Johnny Kafta Anti-Vegetarian Orchestra, Alan Bishop…). We liked their music and they liked ours. They welcomed us so warmly as soon as we arrived as we didn’t expect. We played few improvised shows in Beirut together, with Sharif, Charbel and few other friends we met through them: Ali El Hout, Abed Kobeissy, Pascal Semerdjian, Youmna Saba, Fadi Tabbal. Sharing drinks and thoughts, having fun, traveling inside Lebanon from the Syria border to the one with Israel, meeting people, listening to all the crazy stories you can hear in a country living after a 15 years civil war and right now inside the Middle-East contemporary maëlstrom… In Beirut, we do loved the electric feeling of the city, the blurry shades of the night which can catch you so strong, the vibrancy of the humans and the friends we met. Big hearts / big souls, and this ‘nothing to loose’ gimmick to conjure the war stigmata you can see all around you. That is some perspective.

We jumped into the Tunefork studio right at the end of our travel. Two improvised sessions with all of our new friends and Fadi behind the sound desk. The tracks we recorded there with some real magic moments were the matrix we followed when we completed the album few months later back in France in Kerwax (a crazy all-analogue-studio run by Christophe Chavanon in Brittany) and Magnum Diva (our home studio) in Paris. Our friends Paul Régimbeau aka the electronic magician Mondkopf and Sylvain Joasson, our regular drummer, joined us and we tried all together to keep the same feeling and spontaneity for these new material. To mix analog-electronic instruments, bowed strings, loud rythms, big spaces with the sharp electricity and the insane-post-traditional result we did found in the Beirut’s sessions.

Later G.W.Sok (from the Ex) and Tamer Abu Ghazaleh (Alif) offered us some narration and vocal lines we thought about during the editing of the album. Editing is always a big part of our studio work but this time it was maybe one of the hardest thing we never completed since years. Same for the mixing with Jean-Charles Versari at Poptones in Paris, we had each time to be back to the first listening impression, to avoid to loose the charm of this little simple idea which is making the whole solid. Tired and lost we were at the end, but happy.

The track “Carnaval” is beginning with some field recordings shot on a Holy Friday in Achrafieh in Beirut. The great Fairuz singing “Wa Habibi”, an oriental religious hymn which is first a classical Italian tune wrote by Pergolese in the 18th century and also a popular revolutionary/protest song in the South of France under the name of “Adieu Paure Carnavas”. That’s a nice starting point to mix with the most badass rythm we ever played.

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