When the work of a decades-old recording act still sounds potent, we know that we are in the presence of talent. The post-industrial sounds of Geins’t Naït are balanced here by the modern composition of Laurent Petitgand, to this date best known for his scoring contributions to Wings of Desire. Je vous dis is an integrated clash, a contrast of rough and smooth.
All of this is apparent in the video for “Iroshima”, a kaleidoscopic take on the gorgeous cover art. A 3D conversion would be astonishing. For the first 45 seconds, one thinks of instrumental ambient/beats bands, but when the vocals kick in, one also recalls various 80s industrial experimentalists. If Coil ever made a mandala, it would likely look like this. The band’s connection to the past is clearly established.
Listeners would be remiss to assume that the video is indicative of the album, for the simple fact that Je vous dis is extremely varied. The album presents everything from sound collage to industrial crunch, creating a sense of dark intrigue. Even after numerous plays, nuances continue to surface. Incredibly crisp mastering is partially responsible, as sounds travel speaker-to-speaker while also providing the illusion of depth. “Balla” is built upon a bed of slow electronic beeps, with a guttural voice lying on its pillow. But “Explo” is piano-based, like a mournful farewell dance in the fog. The piano continues to be a force throughout the album, as is the programming. Occasionally sinister voices provide the impression of an uneasy truce.
The title track is the best integrated, with a vocal loop joined by ambient piano, bells, backward-masked conversation and late-piece horns. This is not an album that will appeal to “pure” ambient fans, but ambient music might benefit from a touch of the abrasive. In similar fashion, industrial fans may find the album subtle, but industrial music might benefit from a touch of modern composition. Geins’t Naït & Laurent Petitgand have been around long enough to see many genres and micro-genres come and go, and they’re more interested in preserving worthy sounds than defending the merits of any particular breed. Their disregard for expectation is their greatest asset. (Richard Allen)