Gel - Dolce [Plop - 2003]2003 is a busy year for Julien Loquet. A few months ago, he released a superb album, Mani, under his Dorine_muraille alias on no less than Fat Cat Records, and now he is back under the Gel: moniker with Dolce (the second Gel: album).
Unsurprisingly for those familiar with Mani, Dolce is a quiet album although on many occasions, it is not soft (quite a few glitches…). The way this album has been put together will be familiar to those who have a little background information on how people such as Ekkehard Ehlers and Kazumasa Hashimoto work. First, live instruments are used and recorded. In this case, we have some guitar, an accordion and a prepared-piano among other things. The recorded pieces are then reworked and arranged in Loquet’s laptop: cut and pasted, “glitched up”, put together in numerous layers. Sometimes, the melodies flow, other times they are disrupted by clicks and cuts.
Over the last few months, quite a few albums mixing acoustic instruments and electronics have been released. While this mixture can be really beautiful, there always are a lot of uninspired copycats releasing dull CD’s. Of course, Gel: is not one of those. Dolce being more or less to file under experimental music, you shouldn’t expect nice, clean songs. It’s more of an attempt, the process of trying things. And when it works, it’s absolutely mesmerizing. When the piano melodies and the noise-tones come as one, when both allie, there is not much you can do but let yourself go and enjoy. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way on the whole album. Sometimes, there’s a little annoying thought getting in your head: on some tracks, the music sound as if its elements had been put together at random. As if Loquet let himself get carried away by his ideas instead of trying to keep them under some sort of control. Too often, I hear sketches rather than finished works.
Now I don’t want to be too critical… This album stands miles above the mass of copycats I wrote about a few lines above. However, compared to the recent releases of Fonica and Kazumasa Hashimoto (both reviewed on M[m], check our archives) or even Dorine_Muraille, Dolce has underachievement written all over. If you’re really into the CD’s I just mentioned, then you will like this new Gel: release. However, if you consider them as sweets (something you enjoy eating for 5 minutes but that proves to be unsatisfactory pretty fast), then you’d better pick another album.François Monti