Les Klebs

Les Klebs
Ouïe/Dire Productions PP0506

By Ken Waxman

One of the most distinctively packaged CD ever, the French collective Les Klebs makes music memorable enough to eclipse its enclosure featuring a cartoon dachshund etched around the disc centre held in a rectangular plastic sleeve that also contains a four-page comic strip where an anthropomorphic pit bull wearing a sailor suit happily howls because he’s unexpectedly discovered a bone.

There are nautical – or at least liquid – pulsations in the sound as well, which derives from the undercurrent of watery oscillations, triggered and modulated from the electronic diffusion of Jean-Léon Pallandre (phonographic projection/live analog tapes), Marc Pichelin (keyboard-less analog synthesis) and Laurent Sassi (live mixing/ processing). Providing sound sources on one hand and acoustic variations on the wave-form created drones on the other are the thick string pumps and arco variations of bassist David Chiesa and the banshee-like cries or the forced colored-air aspirations of clarinetist Xavier Charles.

Undulating and hissing, the oceanic timbres on the single, almost 38-minute-long track encompass flanged murmurs, half-heard voices, cross-signaled multiplication, legato string arcs and throat cavity echoing reed resonations. Polyphonic, the aural sea cruise reaches a climax of watery depth charge-like explosions and cuckoo clock hiccupping at the three-quarter mark, then diminishes in sibilant trickles to intermittent sniffs and clatters, whistles and music box-like tinkling. Even those with touches of hydrophobia will likely be buoyed by an immersion in Les Klebs’ sonic voyage.

In MusicWorks Issue #100