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Music Nerd review

Music Nerd review

Les Paiens’ Newest Effort, Carte Noire, Birthed In Atypical Fashion

Posted on November 5, 2016 by Ken Kelley 

Given the immeasurable role that improvisation has played in the live show of Moncton jazz-fusion group Les Paiens, it should be little surprise that the group’s latest studio offering, Carte Noire, the release of which is being celebrated at Moncton’s Aberdeen Cultural Centre tonight, was derived from improvisation sessions.

While this isn’t the first time Les Paiens let their creative muse guide them in the process of writing new material – a good portion of their previous works were largely derived in the same fashion – the manner in which they arrived at the end result was new to the group.

“In 2013, when we were in the process of writing material for Carte Blanche, we recorded a few hours of nothing but improvisations,” drummer Jean Surette says. “We revisited the content that hadn’t maade the final cut of our previous record and discovered there was some great content and ideas to be found.”

It was at this point that Producer Andy Creegan entered the picture, having previously worked with the group on Carte Blanche.

“At the outset of hearing the material, I was meticulous about taking notes about what I heard happening and ultimately what caught my ear,” Creegan says. “Listening to those improv sessions, it was evident the band had some fantastic sketches contained within them. My job was to mine that gold and get rid of the stuff that I didn’t feel was necessary until I felt we had the skeletons of something we could dress up.”

Through a collaborative effort with the group, Creegan pieced together snippets of those improvisations until he had a collection of fully-realized songs on his hands.

Surette says that with the exception of a handful of post-production overdubs, including an extended flute solo in the track “Le Coeur qui bat,” Creegan’s work ultimately became the band’s newest record.

Understandably, with almost three years lapsing between the original recordings of the sessions that spawned their newest release and revisiting the material in a whole new context, Surette admits the band had its work cut out for them in preparing for their performance tonight.

“Once we arrived at a finished product in terms of the record, we basically had to go back and learn the material in order to present it live,” he says. “There were times I was curious to see if we would be able to pull it off, given the fact there were some strange, unconventional things happening in those improv sessions.”

Les Paiens’ live performance kicks off at 10 p.m. tonight. Starting at 9, Carte Noire producer Andy Creegan will be sharing insight into the unique manner which the group’s latest record came together.

What: Les Paiens album launch for Carte Noire
When: Saturday Nov. 5, 9 p.m.
Where: Aberdeen Cultural Centre, 140 Botsford St., Moncton

The East Album review

The East Album review

NEW MUSIC: LES PAÏENS’ ‘CARTE NOIRE’

OCTOBER 12, 2016 

by ANDREW SKETCHLEY

from The East

Moncton-based Les Païens are back with ‘Carte Noire’, the aptly named followup to their 2013 album ‘Carte Blanche’. The album, coming out November 5th, embraces the full breadth of Les Païens’self-proclaimed genre of ‘cosmic jazz rock,’ with a sprawling variety of sounds and incredible depth.

While other artists typically save the heavier material for later in the album, Les Païens know what they’re about, opening ‘Carte Noir’ with‘Pas Ton Char’, an upbeat seven minute long jazz rock epic. Constructed from a solid rhythm and a few looping, repetitive tunes and beats, the song progressively evolves, building the different parts upon themselves and cycling them out for variations upon the same core beat while never truly sounding repetitive.

Coming after this strong opening is the more rock-influenced ‘Le Coeur Qui Bat’, another of ‘Carte Noir’s most memorable tracks. Though one of the shortest tracks on the album, Les Païens doesn’t waste their time getting down to business. With celestial synth droning over a catchy, looping guitar riff, a steadily intensifying beat, and French rapping, it’s clear why it was selected to be the album’s promotional single.

While ‘Le Coeur Qui Bat’ is the album’s best single material, ‘Carte Noir’ has quite a few more tracks that really let the ‘rock’ half of Les Païens‘ jazz/rock label shine. For example, ‘DOT-111’ is entirely structured around a mean bass riff and crashing cymbals with electric guitar bouncing back and fourth between wailing solos and free-form improvisation. ‘Scuze Moi…’, another engaging track, is built around jazz horns over top of a heavy rock a drum and bass combo after its intro of choppy, distorted vocals and electronic sound.

On the other end of the spectrum, tracks such as ‘DJ Teddybeans’ or ‘L’Aube Submurgée’ stand out through excellence in their jazzy improvisational work on horn and guitar. Certain tracks go the extra mile to embrace Les Païens cosmic jazz feel, with the trumpet stylings of ‘Ffff’ blending together over ethereal synth and looping vocals and guitar. ‘Non Non Non Oui Non’ is another such track, a prolonged build-up of celestial vocals backed by ambient synth and abstract input from the rest of the band until it breaks down into a free-form mix of bass riffs, electronic noise, and bizarre vocals. Top stamps.

With a diverse array of tracks and the talent to back it up, Les Païenshave put together an exceptional album, Regardless of whether you’re already a fan or are just hearing about them now for the first time, listening to ‘Carte Noire’ is an experience well worth having.