Terre Promise (Promised Land) is an uplifting album, dedicated to Blutch‘s native Brittany. The title’s dual implication is that there is such a place, and that we might strive to arrive there, whether on earth or in heaven. The choral vocals of the opener cement the association, lifting the thoughts to the skies.
Now to the first of the series of singles that have already paved the way for the album’s success. Six remixes are available on the CD addition, two for each track. “Poplar” is a peppy breakbeat piece lifted by a light vocal sample. Jennifer Cardini and Damon Jee transform it into a slow stormer with a beatless breakdown, while Maud Geffray nudges it toward trance pop. “Cobalan” follows ~ the third track on the album, but the first single to be released, way back in March of 2021. Sweetly looped strings create a feeling of swoon, while the snares provide ample grounding. On the CD, Mézigue and Lauer offer remixes, the first an echoey house version that plays with the violin and adds a trick bag of sounds, the second a more electro version with beeps and breaks. Later in the album we find “River,” an earthy piece whose bass is offset by melodic synth and twinkling keys. Madben and Malcolm are the remixers this time out, the first nearly doubling the piece with swirl and build, and the second increasing the tempo while delving into dub. Then there’s the drum ‘n’ bass of latest single “Remparts,” featuring Maxime Dangles, an instant floor filler and a sign of confidence headed into the full release. The time-lapse imagery in Romain Navier’s video bears a strong message about climate change and environmental impact; the closing image of days passing from space is spectacularly effective.
Is there more in the tank? We’re happy to report that there is, and that the French artist may score crossover success with his debut album. “Rosko” is a slightly slower dance alternative, tailor-made for the hour in which clubbers are spent, while the ambient “Les Bois” provides welcome contrast and features angelic vocals, hearkening back to the opener. The restrained “Phoenix” brings the album to a surprisingly calm end, considering the road it has traveled; perhaps Blutch has found his promised land, or perhaps it was Brittany all along. (Richard Allen)