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Raoul Vignal - Oak Leaf

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 22 / 2 / 2019

Raoul Vignal - Oak Leaf
Label: Talitres
Format: CD


Enthralling second album from French acoustic singer-songwriter Raoul Vignal which is influenced by jazz and ambient music

At the turn of the millennium, at around the time I began writing for Pennyblackmusic, the NME attempted to counterbalance the then in vogue craze for skate-punk and rap-metal with what it called the ‘New Acoustic Movement’. No sooner had they launched this ‘scene’ than they turned against it, but there was enough time for the Kings Of Convenience to release an album that seemed to define this brief uprising of acoustic guitarists, ‘Quiet is the New Loud’. Was Raoul Vignal, then a teenager living in Lyon, following the NME’s machinations? Who knows – but I would not be at all surprised. Not only is his hushed vocal delivery eerily similar to the Kings of Convenience, but he seems to have absorbed their mentality wholesale. On ‘Oak Leaf’ he gives a masterclass in what the ‘New Acoustic Movement’ would have been aiming at – purposeful, atmospheric acoustic music. One thing it very much is not is folk music. Vignal may have a background busking in Berlin, but his vocals are only a part of the experience – his voice and guitars are part of an ensemble where the other elements often play the most decisive role. This is moody, atmospheric music that owes as much to jazz and – though performed entirely on organic instruments – ambient music. His hushed and slightly slurred vocals are never uninviting, but it’s hard to focus on the words when the musical accompaniments are so good. I doubt you will be able to hum back any of these songs when you get to the end of ‘Oak Leaf’, but it’s a delightful listening experience. Saxophones evoke the best of modern jazz, while the vibraphones create a gorgeous atmospheric hum. It’s clear that everyone involved in the making of this record was at the very top of their game. This comes very highly recommended.

Track Listing:-
1 Pepa's Eyes
2 No Faith
3 The Dream
4 Blue Raven
5 I Might
6 I Have Sinned
7 The Waves (Pt. 1)
8 The Waves (Pt. 2)
9 Mirror
10 The Valve

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