The cover of Deltas says it all: the music of Chapelier Fou is bright and happy, twinkling and colorful, creative and adventuresome. On his third album, Metz (France) artist Louis Warynski doesn’t defy genres as much as invite them in.
A delta is a convergence of sediment from multiple rivers, all headed to the same sea; one might say the same about the album. Deltas offers a collage of tones, from sprightly strings to programmed beats. Organic and electronic instruments share the same sandbox, passing buckets and shovels to each other as they build an impressive castle. Perhaps the rain will wash it all away, but the happiness of the day will linger in the consciousness.
The music’s elusive quality serves it well on repeated plays. By holding back any obvious choruses (save for lead single “Tea Tea Tea”), the artist guarantees that the smaller melodies will slip through the mind and demand reunions with the ears. What was that sound that made me feel so good? the listener might ask. I’m having a hard time committing it to memory; I must hear it again. The centers slip like magnetic poles; one thinks of “Pluisme” is an acoustic guitar piece until 2:27, when it shifts into bell-toned electronics. At 4:01, it shifts again, showing preference to the piano and synthesized bass piece: three sides of a triangle, like a delta.
The violins make their first major appearance on “Grand Arctica”, and over the course of the album, they never fade far from the front lines. This seems to be Warynski’s primary instrument, although it’s clearly not his only one. His ability to see how instruments relate allows him to interlock rhythms and melodies where others might simply layer them. Surprising complexity is hidden in seemingly simple architecture: pop songs on the surface, modern composition underneath. Chapelier Fou’s success in commercial and film scoring is likely due to this combination of accessibility and depth. But it also takes courage to start a song with a cowbell (“i_o”); Christopher Walken would be proud. (Richard Allen)
Release date: 22 September