Caravaggio: Turn up (RJAL 397027)


Turn up

Bruno Chevillon electric bass, double bass, electronic effects, tambourine, voice
Eric Echampard Tama Starclassic drums, Paiste traditional cymbals, voice
Benjamin de la Fuente violin, tenor guitar, electronic effects, acoustic slide guitar, voice
Samuel Sighicelli Hammond organ, sampler, analog synthesizers (Korg, Dave Smith, Moog), Fender Rhodes, piano, voice
Recorded at Studios La Buissonne in July and November 2015 by Gérard de Haro and Nicolas Baillard
ENCERcléS recorded by Jean-Baptiste Deucher (Studio Acousti, Paris)
Edited by Benjamin de la Fuente and Samuel Sighicelli
Mixed in May 2016 by Gérard de Haro, Nicolas Baillard, Benjamin de la Fuente and Samuel Sighicelli
Mastered at Galaxy by Marwan Danoun
Produced by Gérard de Haro and RJAL for La Buissonne and Sphota
Release date: February 24, 2017

Following their extraordinary La Buissonne label debut, the quartet known as Caravaggio returns with all new music, collectively produced, mostly in the moment. The result is more than, as the press release would have it, an art rock album in the idiom of contemporary experimental music. It’s a giant leap forward in the band’s evolution. After slipping into the electronic bass line of “Tanker Fever”  (courtesy of Bruno Chevillon), it’s difficult to avoid getting swept away by its digital current. Plucked from the DJ rack of some parallel otherworld, it treats hooks, structure, and repetition as journeys rather than destinations, and the groove they imply as the soundtrack for our itineracy. Guitar and drums are the spine and nerve impulses, respectively, but constantly switch places, just as prone to hanging from the unswaying branches of quietude. Other dives into the dark end include “I Wonder (Your Heart is Not in This),” in which sound bites of cinematic terror and despair encircle us, and the quiet dance of signs and cymbals that is “ENCERcléS.”

Much of the album, however, lives in brightly lit climates. Where the percussion-heavy mashup of “Street Art” feels like a video game in fast-forward that ends in a drunken crawl, “1064°C” is a solar flare powerful enough to upset the magnetic field of everything we heard until this point. The most fascinating associations come together in “Blue Crystal.” Its vocal samples and flashes of inner lives stretch far and wide. And if its topography is oceanic, then “Land Art” is the meteorite splashing into its currents, leaving a hush of activity in its wake, sustained for all time yet cut short by the present.

Caravaggio: #2 (RJAL 397016)



Bruno Chevillon bass, double bass, electronics
Benjamin de la Fuente violin, Mandocaster, electric tenor guitar, electronics
Eric Echampard drums, percussion, electronics
Samuel Sighicelli Hammond organ, sampler, synthesizers (Korg and Minimoog)
Recorded at Studios La Buissonne by Nicolas Baillard and Gérard de Haro
Mixed by Nicolas Baillard, Gérard de Haro, Samuel Sighicelli and Benjamin de la Fuente
Mastered by Nicolas Baillard at Studios La Buissonne
Release date: November 20, 2012

This blending of jazz, rock, and electronic idioms wraps its eclectic arms around bassist Bruno Chevillon, guitarist Benjamin de la Fuente, drummer Eric Echampard, and keyboardist Samuel Sighicelli. As Caravaggio, they elicit a sound not like the paintings of their namesake: boldly portraitive, making use of deep contrast, and vibrantly expressive. Opener “Polaroid” builds to slow fruition over an eight-minute span, pulling from the electric guitar an entire film’s worth of scenography. The cleverly titled “Dennis Hopper Platz” digs further into the muck of postmodern angst but eschews the ennui in favor of a hip, bass-driven embrace of sound bites from Easy Rider before finishing in a hush of data. As if drawing from that same font of digital wisdom, “Aguirre” spins an open-ended projection of bygone fantasies across alluring electronic doctrine.

“When will you be angelic” pays tribute to the Hammond organ. Its old-school Jan Hammer vibe reads like a jazz performance attended only by androids. “Anybody here?” is an even more explosive catapult through gigabytes of information. Riding in a vessel of light, it zooms at speeds unimaginable to the physical body into the industrial ambience of “Beth’s variation.” Following this, “Medusa” drops its heavy dose of outro prog rock, replete with skittering violin for contrast. If the aforementioned were measured in gigabytes, “Profundo” is a veritable terabyte. As drums, guitar, and synth combine to show us the way to transformation, we leave ourselves behind, one cell at a time, until only impulse remains, shot in countless directions.

Like the soundtrack to a lost Philip K. Dick novel, #2 breathes in tune with synthetic animals, black boxes, and panoptical realities. A rage against the machine, by the machine.