Les Discrets - Ariettes Oubliées
Post-Black Ambient Shoegaze
8 songs ()
Release year: 2012
Reviewed by Alex

When the previous Les Discrets album, their debut, was up for a review I already brought up all of the associations and correlations the band has with another, maybe more famous, French post-black atmospheric shoegaze collective Alcest, so this time I won’t do that. Intentionally or not, but this time around Les Discrets one more time follows with the album of their own, Ariettes Oubliées, on the heels of Alcest Les Voyages De L'Ame. And just like I unwittingly have compared Septembre et Ses Dernières Pensées with Écailles de Lune, my mind can’t help but to judge Ariettes Oubliées against Les Voyages De L'Ame. I know, not fair, but I can’t help it.

Les Discrets has a profound effect on me. Not always building the feeling of euphoria the way Alcest does it, with the dense wall of sound (although Les regrets goes for that tremolo guitar effect after a more somber intro), the music by these Frenchmen puts my mind at ease no matter what my mood and circumstances of the day are. Ariettes Oubliées actually did it in a pair of different ways. I have never been to France (unless you count me transiting through Charles De Gaulle airport), but La traverse takes me there, to the French countryside, with chanson being played using slightly distorted guitars. The relaxation sets in, removing all worries, even though the ending of La traverse has more persistence and strength. Au creux de l'hiver is also dreamy and percussive, but incredibly buoyant and uplifting at the same time.

While the aforementioned tracks envelope the listener into a dense, less distinct in terms of individual details fabric, the other group of songs on Ariettes Oubliées has unbelievable clarity and definition. Les Discrets has an innate ability to introduce a nugget of a riff or melody, and then build on that, play around it, acoustic or distorted. These moments, somber or tender, are doggedly insistent, like droplets of cold spring/fall rain trying to get behind your collar (Linceul d'hiver). Or, as in Le mouvement perpetual, it is the crystal clean tiny mountain stream, obsessed with its goal of ultimately joining a bigger body of water. Of course, my associations could be totally off base, as I don’t know a word of French, so even the songs titles can’t provide clues. However, Les Discrets music is always inspiring of the word association game, so if “winter”, “rain” and ‘water” is not something Linceul d'hiver, Le mouvement perpetual and Après l' ombre would evoke, feel free to scour nature for more fitting terms. (And from the little that I do actually know, I am off base, since the band is the vehicle for the main man Fursy Teyssier to deliberate on the subject of his innate fears, of love and death).

Not everything is always clear on Les Discrets horizon, and the urban setting of La nuit muette grows a bit cloudy with a feeling of abandonment. The vocals of Fursy Teyssier are still more human and less androgynous than those in Alcest, more longing, searching and down to earth, benefiting from an occasional female pairing (La traverse).

If in search of that feeling, when you need to separate from the day’s immediate nagging problems, and all you want is to drift, preferably with your eyes close, I could not recommend Ariettes Oubliées more.

Killing Songs :
Linceul d'hiver, Le mouvement perpétuel, Ariettes oubliées I: Je devine à travers un murmure..., Après l' ombre
Alex quoted 83 / 100
Other albums by Les Discrets that we have reviewed:
Les Discrets - Septembre et Ses Dernières Pensées reviewed by Alex and quoted 88 / 100
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