sometimes you don’t need to beat about the bush to identify a band whose music will haunt you for long. especially because the discovery of the sibylline aforementioned music happened under specific circumstances that couldn’t serve better the band’s sphere of influence.
you may have already noticed that birds – and animals generally speaking – drive wild when a tempest arises, peeping apocalyptic strident melodies which are both anxious and scaremongering, until they eventually silence themselves as the storm epicentre closes by?
but did you know that these heralding birds are called Oiseaux-Tempête?
the first time the frog listened to Ouroboros, through a cover by Justin Small (Do Make Say Think), the threatening atmosphere which accompanied the main guitar line generated an alert rated 9 on the frog’s post-rocking scale. the landing on Oiseaux-Tempête’s orbit took place without breathing a word, but following a simple magnetic attraction to a dreading, remarkable music.
born in 2012, Oiseaux-Tempête is an instrumental French band made of Frédéric D. Oberland (guitar), Stéphane Pigneul (bass) and Ben McConnell (drums). three musicians who are anything but newcomers, since both guitarists are also involved in the fantastic Le Réveil des Tropiques and the collective Farewell Poetry. for his part, Ben McConnell has been collaborating to Beach House, Phosphorescent and Au Revoir Simone, to name but a few.
the band’s musical compositions go hand in hand with the magnificent artwork of the fourth member, Stéphane C., who is a photographer and filmmaker. whereas his aesthetics spoke to the frog’s heart directly, showing evidence of the band’s addicting melancholy, it mostly gave to understand that Oiseaux-Tempête was a conceptual project that bypassed the simple frame of music by offering a voice to people’s discontentment. this is a musical and political kick off.
released in 2013 on Sub Rosa, the first (brilliant) self-titled album of the band was made as Stéphane C. documented the economical and political turmoil in Greece. whereas the album is exclusively instrumental, the spoken part comes down to bird cheeping and militant field recordings that document this greek tragedy, which is alas everything but theatre, as it is, for instance, evidenced by Ouroboros.
unlike Justin Small’s guitar version, the original by Oiseaux-Tempête shows anguished, shrill notes of bass clarinet (provided by the amazing Gareth Davis), through which you can sip the haunting solemnity of the instant. with gentleness and poetry, pressurized guitars disguise the barely audible rebellion and contrast a little with the feverish clarinet. as the images of Stéphane C. slowly herald palpable signs of a growling protest, guitars deafen and give rise to a muffled rage that never really blows up. the most terrible thing is that this rage is undoubtedly menacing and conveys an exhilarating spleen.
indeed, in Oiseaux-Tempête’s compositions, torments and anger are unmissable but remain restrained, nipped in the bud. obsessed and despaired guitars fly in the air and come near troublemaking storms which let no thunderbolt out. tension is constant, fuelled by muffled drums that show no victorious explosions and move the band away from the typical post-rock pigeonhole (with the slight exception of Buy Gold,which isn’t properly speaking a post-rock song but a thrilling march to the beat of the drum).
if you haven’t heard of Oiseaux-Tempête yet, you have no idea what you are about to discover and how lucky you are. because the journey that lies head will offer you a demanding, liberating experience, in which you will be blessed with a powerful and wistful beauty.
the holy day the frog discovered Oiseaux-Tempête by streaming the band’s Re-Works (released in late april), birds had started to sing joyfully in the linden adjoining the balcony, as if they had decided to enliven this very music, tense and dusky, while a violent storm was darkening the pond skies and making the frog pretty nervous. indeed, despite its animal condition, the frog always experiences a panic-stricken crisis each time environmental elements unleash. but on that very day, mesmerized by this innerspeaking, deeply moving music, it didn’t notice anything but birds followed by a violent wind blowing. as music vanished and anxiety stung, the sky was blue again and the birds resumed their serenade, subliming once again Oiseaux-Tempête beautifully.