Bon Voyage Organisation - 'La Course' (CD)
Cat #: INVMUS1001CD
Format: CD Album
22nd May 2020
French finest synth-pop band Bon Voyage Organisation release his second opus after a feature on Cocktail d'Amore 10 Years compilation.
"La Course" is a cinematic, synthesized and library-esque journey that could be a mixed-up between Italian early 80's productions and french 00's disco.
"This record marks the beginning of a new attitude towards recording," says Bon Voyage Organisation's Adrien Durand. "Switching from a busy studio that I shared to having my own very quiet cabin in the North West of Paris has inspired me to adopt a more meditative approach."
Whilst it's fair to say Durand has been constantly on the move for some time - be it touring or producing records for the likes of Amadou & Mariam, Papooz and Bagarre - there's a sense of new momentum, as well as stillness, that hangs over this record. One that's fully instrumental and as he describes being more free.
The band's trademark glistening production, disco flair, shimmering electronics and incandescent melodies still remain but a more intuitive and striped back approach was favoured this time around. Some of this attitude stemming from an evening opening for Kamasi Washington. "Because of the constraints of being an opening act we played as an instrumental quintet instead of our usual 9-piece band," says Durand. "We rehearsed the day before, our set opened with John Coltrane's 'Naïma' followed by a hard-bop ish version of Kraftwerk's 'Trans Europe Express'. It felt so good to perform that repertoire in that configuration that I had the vision of bringing this aspect of the band in the studio."
There was also a removed sense of pressure with this record - no major label expectation of a radio friendly record, combined with a deconstructed approach to songwriting. "Since 2014 I've been working mostly on projects involving a lot of conventional songwriting," Durand says. "I was keen on producing a record based on performance and atmospheres more than repertoire." He also sought inspiration from a perhaps unlikely source: The Arctic Monkeys. "I was really encouraged by them going out of their comfort zone on their last album - it really caught my attention in a Bowie / Berlin period way."
The result of the album is one that oozes the natural momentum of experimentation, texture, mood and intuition while managing to retain a sonic coherence. In a none-obvious and zeitgeist clichéd way, there is perhaps a more jazz-leaning approach to the record that weaves between soft subtle moments to the more atonal and experimental, all underpinned by sweeping, engulfing soundscapes and the usual touch of non-Western musical flourishes. This vibe came from a distinct lack of editing, says Durand. "In the studio we had everyone sitting in the same room - sometimes up to 6 players - and I never edited the playing. I just went on to record some additional synth and percussion, insert the soundscapes, and mix the record."
This less is more approach, avoiding indulgence and superfluousness, is something Durand can't help but feel is an artistic response to the pace of modern life. "There is a frenetic approach to everything," he says. "People want to binge on everything, expect ultra fast changes on any political cause etc. The response is a big comeback of things like the practice of meditation, yoga and ambient music." There are times when this record falls into the territory of meditative ambience, as on the immersive plunge one takes swimming through the beautiful 'Un Am Ricain En Danger'. It's an album to bathe in and to be carried along by, it's gripping by being so rather than fighting for your attention
Ultimately the record is one that feels it's been allowed room to breath, a sonic sphere in which musicians have been allowed to roam as freely and thoughtfully as the listener. "This record is about welcoming the music and being able to let each musician express themselves during the recording process," says Durand. "This is a valuable trade that takes time."
UE only, excl France