From the first unsettling notes, it’s clear that Les Objets Trouvés isn’t going to sit down quietly and play nice. Opening with the sort of filmic crescendo that normally accompanies the reveal of the serial killer, ‘Caterpillar’ then swoops coolly along with Kate Young’s aerobatic vocalising over Raphaël Decoster’s sashaying accordion.
The pairing of Decoster and Young is an intriguing meeting of innovative artistic minds as visual as they are musical. Consequently, each track is highly evocative, offering sidelong glimpses into other possible worlds as the listener drifts by. Delicate layers of sounds are built up to create subtleties of texture and shade that absolutely reward repeated attention.
Take the final track, ‘Semaphore Sauvage’, for instance. This eerie auditory folk horror short sits slightly apart from the rest of the album, separated by an extra-long silence from the preceding tracks. Its exaggerated sustained notes, uneasy chant-like vocalisation and what might be a crackling fire lend it a wild, haunting air that lingers long after the album’s finished.
‘Grey Blanket’ is another track making full use of natural sounds to form a sonic landscape. Its birdsong, rustling leaves and a distant storm are set against the bouncing spiccato of the violin bow onto the strings before the accordion rolls gently in.
‘Mushrooms On The Moon’ and ‘Swimmings Of The Head’ (also the title of Young’s stunning Kate In The Kettle project first album) are both deliciously rhythmic and swirling pieces, although each has its own distinct tempo and mood. On both, Decoster’s accordion breathes audibly – disconcertingly like an extra person in the room. It’s a feature of his playing on many of these songs that is at once deeply intimate and also slightly unnerving.
Elsewhere, ‘Tanz Tanz Tanz’ begins with a Kraftwerk-y vocal loop, over which a fluid violin and perky staccato accordion bursts weave their delirious, well, dance. Sólheimajökull is an Icelandic glacier waltz, culiminating in a shuddering whirl, with the added brass section lending an air of the big top – it’s Fellini’s La Strada on ice. ‘Million Dollars’ surface choppiness is finely counterpointed by a languid lingering over the accompanying notes.
About a minute into ‘Woolyboy & The Crying Mountain’, there seems to be some rhythmic nod to the Kate In The Kettle track ‘Green And Gold’. There’s also some unmistakeably French style accordion in there right before a vocal marker indicates a change of pace, to a lively tune culminating in a flurry of ricochet strings. The point is, there’s so much going on here, so many constantly shifting tiny details making up the whole, that – like Alice falling down the rabbit hole – it’s quite hard to do more than snatch at passing details in order to try to describe this remarkable album.
‘Jardin De Pamplemousse’ is an engagingly traditional style tune, but all the tracks on this album are original compositions, apart from the duo’s take on ‘Cutty Wren’. Yet, somehow, the pair play as though these tunes, these interactions between their instruments and Young’s voice have always existed, so totally natural do they seem. It’s an album that manages to be both utterly extraordinary and deeply familiar at the same time. Here is a collaboration that has paid off most handsomely, with these two highly original artists breathing life into a unique and beautiful set of songs.
Artists’ website: https://www.facebook.com/kateandraphael/
‘Tanz Tanz Tanz’ – official video: