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Dale Cooper and the Dictaphones - Metamanoir

  by Andy Cassidy

published: 28 / 1 / 2012

Dale Cooper and the Dictaphones - Metamanoir
Label: Denovali Records
Format: CD


Magnificent and atmospheric album from French band, Dale Cooper and the Dictaphones, which takes equal inspiration from both 1950's jazz and the soundtracks of David Lynch films

One of the greatest disappointments of my adult life was the final episode of 'Twin Peaks'. For nearly twenty years now I’ve dedicated much more time than I ought to have imagining how the myriad unsolved plots would play out. Alas, my wondering was in vain, and, sadly, I’ll never know if Audrey and Catherine died in the bank or if Cooper ever managed to rid himself of Killer Bob and find Annie. I had not heard of the Dale Cooper Quartet until very recently, but when I saw their name, I immediately knew that I would love them and I was right. Taking their name from Kyle MacLachlan’s character in the aforementioned 'Twin Peaks' (“The Dictaphones” refers to Dale Cooper’s habit of recording a diary using a Dictaphone), the band’s latest release (their second LP) is a work of atmospheric majesty and the first true masterpiece of Dark Jazz. Inspired equally by 1950’s cool (think Miles Davis’ 'Kind of Blue' or 'L'ascenseur pour l' échafaud') and the eerie, unsettling qualities of a David Lynch film, 'Métamanoir' takes the listener on a dark journey of twists and turns where an almost supernatural presence lurks menacingly around every corner. Opening track 'Une Petit Cellier' sets the tone wonderfully. At once relaxed and edgy, it borrows heavily from Angelo Badalamenti. The lugubrious pace of the track brings a dreamlike quality to the piece, a sense of unreality and detachment. With its cool jazz drumming and twanging guitar, the album’s second track 'Eux Exquis Acrostole' could be lifted directly from Badalamenti’s 'Twin Peaks' score. The song features an accomplished vocal by Ronan McErlaine, and with a repetitive, cyclical lyric (“Your American freedom isn’t worth a dime”) which lends the song a chant-like quality. At eleven minutes, one might think that the track would become tiresome, but its hypnotic nature kept me hooked and on edge throughout. The highlight of the album for me is the wonderful vocal of long-time Yann Tiersen collaborator Gaëlle Kerrien – her voice has an ethereal crispness, which blends magnificently with them music. As anyone who has read any of my previous reviews will know, I’m not usually given to hyperbole, but, in this instance, I shall make an exception. I feel as though I have been waiting for this album for a long, long time. Track after track, texture upon texture, 'Métamanoir' is everything I’m looking for in an LP. I would say, however, that it may not be to everyone’s taste – in particular, it’s certainly not something I’d recommend to someone looking for an upbeat album – but the craft and execution of the (admittedly wonderful) material is superlative. I love this album, and I predict that it will be a large segment of my musical life for years to come. Not a party record, but an absolute cracker nonetheless.

Track Listing:-
1 Une petit cellier
2 Eux exquis acrostole
3 Ma insaisissable abri
4 Sa prodigieux hermitage
5 Le implacable gentilhommière
6 Elle agréable rendez-vous de chasse
7 Mon tragique chartreuse
8 La terrible palais
9 Il mélodieux manoir

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