posted on 2/2012 By:
Those unfamiliar with shoegaze enthusiast Fursy Teyssier of Les Discrets need only know that the group's stunning debut, Septembre et Ses Dernières Pensées, may in fact go down as the crowning acheivement of the entire "metalgaze" movement. Like aging Bordeaux in oak barrels, Septembre has not only stood the test of time more aptly than its slew of French counterparts; but instead has sprouted the type of legs you'd expect to see in crystal doused with only the finest of all old world wines. Feel that's too un-metal a description for your liking? By all means, continue reading if you'd like to.
In perhaps one of the most unforgettable moments in the history of film, Shawshank's one and only Andy Dufresne -- with his warden-defying stunt of locking himself inside a room only to queue up Amadeus' Le Nozze di Figaro -- was capable of silencing an entire playground of thieves, murderers, rapists and general all-around American badasses. The timelessness of that pertained neither to the content of the foreign lyrics nor the fact that none of these men knew jack-shit about opera. No... it was the quiet desperation and patient longing of the music itself that captivated the hearts of those men that day.
Now for those who would normally be quick to disqualify and discredit Les Discrets because of its associations with the whole atmospheric / shoegaze / black metal movement, just know that you're not as hardened as a legion of Shawshank prisoners, and that there's also a good chance you already listen to some obscure female-fronted synth-pop act from Canada or Iceland or something. Face it, you're not as much of a hard ass as you'd like to be, and there are little to no reasons why you shouldn't give this music some consideration.
Although Ariettes Oubliées... doesn't come as close to perfection as its predecessor, the two still bear striking similarities. What's most to love about both albums is the all-encompassing nature that Teyssier gives to his art. Unlike many albums in metal, it is virtually impossible to assimilate the artist's music without visualizing the album's cover art, animations and live videos. The obvious reason for this strong connection is the fact that Teyssier does all of the art design himself; and that is where Les Discrets is able to transcend. Where a project like Alcest uses intimate soundscapes to draw the listeners into the childhood fantasy worlds of its creator, Les Discrets composes it, sketches it, paints it and humbly offers it up to the observer so that they might make it their own (as my collegue John Ray righly pointed out).
Although Ariettes Oubliées... is perhaps a less-risky sophomore effort, it still feels a bit more mature and congruent than Septembre. However, the first look into any artist's creation is more often than not the most meaningful, so perhaps the real miracle has nothing to do with which album is approached first. The artistic purposes of Les Discrets have been so unique, so clear and so profound from the get-go, that fans of the debut had to at least wonder if it was even possible for Fursy Teyssier to continue the project's development. Why risk adding progression to that which is already self-sustaining? I suppose, if nothing else, the answer there lies within what should be every artist's driving factor: for the love of it.
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