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«Voyage imaginaire dans les ruines de Detroit»

French Sylvain Daniel is a versatile bassist. He played with the acclaimed Orchestre National de Jazz (ONJ) of Olivier Benoit and its recent projects, homages to European capitals, and with other local jazz bandleaders as Vincent Courtois or Thomas de Pourquery. He also collaborated with French musicians from the milieus of electro, pop, hip-hop and world music. The debut album of Daniel as the leader of own group, Palimpseste, «Voyage imaginaire dans les ruines de Detroit», makes full use of his versatile qualities.

Daniel was inspired to compose this album by the book «Ruins of Detroit» by young French photographers Romain Meffre and Yves Marchand. Daniel himself has never been to Detroit, but ever since he can remember, he’s been listening to the music of Motor City, from the initial soul of Motown to the hip-hop of Jay Dee, not forgetting the minimalist electro of Juan Atkins. The group Palimpseste was born as an attempt to immerse in an imaginary Detroit, a city whose art still transpires in the multiple strata of its abandoned tenements, like a parchment that needs scraping to disclose its story.

Daniel, together with producer Frédéric Soulard and Palimpseste musicians – saxophonist Laurent Bardainne, keyboards-player Manuel Peskine and drummer Mathieu Penot, devised an electric, furiously urban sonic envelope for «Voyage imaginaire dans les ruines de Detroit». Daniel had in his mind the words of Derrick May who described the Detroit brand of Techno: «Our music is like George Clinton meets Kraftwerk, but in the same elevator… It’s in the image of Detroit: a total terror».

«Voyage imaginaire dans les ruines de Detroit» references directly and shamelessly the rich musical legacy of the Motor City, with many sonic and spoken word samples, but on the same time suggests Daniel’s very personal reflection on that legacy and its apparent demise. Pieces like «Game On» and «Hôtel Fantastic» employ superimposed timbres and undulating grooves reminiscent of J Dilla, but transform these pieces to tough funky-fusion acrobatics, led by the fat bass lines of Daniel. «Les Colchiques» and “School Song” play cleverly with the familiar clichés of Motown’s spiritual-soul ballads. “FisherBody Party» and «PsychoFac», are the most interesting pieces.

Daniel connects the robotized industry of Motor City with the emergence of Techno, but translates the dark, repetitive motifs identified with techno to a powerful rhythmic patterns of an energetic jazz quartet.

Eyal Hareuveni

Sylvain Daniel (b, frh), Laurent Bardainne (ts), Manu Peskine (p, Fender Rhodes), Mathieu Penot (dr)

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