Café De L'Enfer - Marchant a quatre pattes au-devant de la redemptio [Steinklang Industries - 2011]Sometimes it’s not so easy to review a project when you have virtually no information to go on. Trying to find out about Café de l’Enfer was a short lesson in futility in retrospect. Other than mentions at Steinklang Industries and Cold Spring Records websites, information was extremely limited. Which is fine for us actually; it gives less focus on who is making the music and more on the actual music recorded.
So where to start, to begin with this is the projects second release- it put out a untitled CDR in 2010 also on Steinklang Industries. This new album is a lovingly perfected blend of neo-classical, martial and little flourishes of industrial swirled about with a light dose of nostalgia. The production is pristine, robust martial percussion, as on “La foret obscure” is balanced with delicate (what sounds like) harp and flute on “Je ne veux plus etre pieux” (loosely translated the wonderfully titled “I do not want to be more pious”). Beautiful operatic and choral voices are featured on “L’Automne”, and a very somber, introspective piano/synth piece is played on “L’evanescence de toutes les possibilities”.
Atmospheres dance from the grand as on the above mentioned “L’evanescence….” to the haunting, almost gothic “Messalina”. Lyrics, just like the titles, are all in French. Few are sung; most are spoken or whispered (and done very well on “L’Automne”). There’s very little to fault here other than the fact that it is fairly heavy on the martial influence and combining that with neo-classical gives it a decidedly dramatic sound which may be too theatrical for some.
Whoever they are and whatever their goal is, Café de l’Enfer has produced an ethereal yet forceful piece of art. Enjoy them for what they give us and if you’re really curious check out the story behind the real Café de l’Enfer in Paris.Viktorya Kaufholz