Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dale Cooper Quartet and Dictaphones - Metamanoir (2011)

 Jazz is something I grew up with, due to my mom being a huge jazz freak. My home was always filled with the smoother sounds of artists like Bobby McFerrin, Wynton Marsalis and Kenny G alongside some of the more old-school big band ensembles and crooner mainstays like Sinatra, Johnny Mathis and Andy Williams. So it was no surprise that for most of my childhood, I hated jazz in all its incarnations. These days, such automatic disdain for my parents’ music is no more and I’ve grown to be rather fond of certain styles of jazz, in particular dark jazz.

The Dale Cooper Quartet and Dictaphones are an ensemble from France that play a darker, more sinister styled jazz. Deriving its name from David Lynch’s favorite television FBI agent, the Quartet’s music definitely brings to mind  the dark, red-lit rooms of the Roadhouse or the red-curtained and zig-zagged floor of the Black Lodge. But this isn’t a mere Lynch tribute/homage act. 

Métamanoir sees the band shift from their smooth, minimal and instrumental landscapes on the debut record Parole De Navarre to a more lively and rich sound. It starts and ends with ambient pieces filled with minor changes, these pieces centered around only two instruments. It begins with standard jazz instruments and progresses to add electric guitars, manipulated vocals, and programmed industrial drums. It's a treat to hear such a variety of instruments, recordings, and styles all mesh together to form a cohesive dark jazz aesthetic.

So if you find yourself late at night, sipping on a glass of red wine and nothing to listen, pop this in and be swept away to a dark lounge with strange and memorable faces.

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