May 26, 2017

LP: Le Fruit Vert - Paon Perdu

Le Fruit Vert reaches for experimental aural perfection on their latest album.

What would it look like to search for the perfect sound? Would it consist of one consistent, ever-changing tone? A meditative, slow analytic approach to a series of notes? Compilations of countless field recordings? A fast-paced build of huge arrays of notes and sounds? Many of these practices are already normalities in the world of ambient, noise, and “post-rock” music. And yet, pop music also has had its own fingers on a very specific search for perfectly beautiful noise. An aural paradise, a moment of pure ecstasy, has often been the desired ne plus ultra for pop compositions. I would argue that the closest to this maxim anyone has come to this year has happened, strangely and gorgeously, on Le Fruit Vert's LP Paon Perdu. It's an album whose meditations hang in the balance between every moment of silence. It takes detailed care over every note, musing delightfully by taking time and giving space to breathe, but also carries in its belly the quite-often brilliant, earworming pop melodies that make it remarkable. 

Le Fruit Vert is a duo between Andrea Jane, an experimental and avant-garde musician from Montreal who has been making concrete music that shakes and thralls for years, and Marie-Douce St-Jacques, another misfit-pop Montreal musician who worked with the highly-underrated Pas Chic Chic as well as creating diverse multimedia arts. The duo is as old as art itself, illuminating sonic conversations better than any other array, and that’s exactly what happens in the warm amiable space between the two voices, patterns of organ and synthesizer, and illustrious percussive patterns that emerge exactly when you least expect them. This perfect volley between the two artists begins with a nearly-transcendent choral refrain, conjuring holy gospels before deconstructing into a slow, precise study of simple melodies that poke and prod at one another between bass guitar, creaking synth patches, and playful vocal harmonies. These blithe tendencies continue into the following tunes; simple, curious builds that mirror the synthesised explorations of Roedelius. 

On “Too Much World,” the album’s fourth track and likely its catchiest, the songwriting that once made Pas Chic Chic so delightful and yet progressive resurfaces. Turning on its head the expectations of a dreamy, melancholy crooner, the four-minute standout revisits some of the best moments from misfit-pop’s heyday, when the likes of Fiery Furnaces' Blueberry Boat or BSS's You Forgot It in People reigned supreme. What made a band like Pas Chic Chic’s sound so luxurious was the subtle moments that allowed for the influences of experimentation in the guitar-music world to align themselves with simple, ecstatic melodies. Here, that same chemistry still persists, allowing repetitive bars of rising and falling structures to elaborate in on themselves, dismantling “non-musical” sounds and rebuilding songs that are true to their simple form and delicate with their emotional effect. At no point does Paon Perdu lose sight of its two most thrilling attributes. Even towards the back end, when the album’s pop brevity descends into ambiance following the final notes of its (translated) title track, “A Peacock Astray,” it never ceases to be both devotional and whimsical. “Suite d'ainsi” is a gorgeous example of the ease by which the duo shifts between sounds that evoke brightness and those that evoke gloom. The finale, “Vu du large,” is an epic and grandiose wall of sound, tying wordless voice to heavy, shuddering textures of feedback and elongated keys. 

But for all the attempt that could be made to pick apart Paon Perdu piece by piece, the work is so obviously at its strongest when consumed as a whole. Entirely a meditation on sound and feeling, Paon Perdu isolates noises through a difference of harmony and position. No track is too hasty, but rather they each accept their practice as a study in selection and reaction to sound. The music of Le Fruit Vert exists in a gray area between anonymity and familiarity. It’s a technique that binds their music tightly to emotional vulnerability as they poke at the human condition, always with cheer and curiosity galore.

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Listen to Le Fruit Vert on bandcamp.

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Elijah Fosl is a freelance music and culture writer who's really bad at describing themselves. They hail from Louisville but live in Chicago where they work, ferociously devouring cassette tapes and local produce. Find them on Twitter at @elifosl or online at elifosl.com.