Louis de Mieulle

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Louis De Mieulle – stars, plants & bugs

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Some four years after his first solo album, the highly listenable Defence Mechanisms, nimble-fingered bass player Louis De Mieulle returns with his second offering stars, plants & bugs. Louis is an ex-pat Frenchman living in New York, and from the line up on his debut he retains the services of drummer Matt Garstka and keyboard player Casimir Liberski. More melodic than Defence Mechanisms but no less complex, stars, plants & bugs is an instrumental concept album that transmits the natural and cosmic themes of the album title through a music that is both intellectual but at the same time easy on the ear.

This is an individual take on jazz, but those of you who scuttle off whimpering at the very mention of the word really have nothing to fear here. Go on, jump in, the water’s lovely! Opening with the charmingly pastoral Petrified Wood #1 we are soon aware of the fact that Louis and his mates have a knack of transmitting a title’s mental image through highly crafted musicianship.

The trio are joined on some numbers by Turkish flautist Sarpay Özçagatay, aka “SharpEye”. Like Louis and Casimir, Sarpay is a graduate of that production line of musical quality, the Berklee School of Music, located in Boston, USA. Sarpay’s contributions add a natural colour to the canvas; his sinuous and dextrous playing is a delight to behold. Completing the multi-national group is Jerusalem born Tareq Rantisi , a percussionist who has played with a long list of jazz and world music players.

After a tale from the Petrified Wood opens the album, Castor’s song is delivered, all fleet of foot, skipping through the cosmos. The storyline on Louis’ website has it that Insect Party sees the bugs “gather for the Grand Bug Party. Wobbly millipedes, glow worm choirs, restless cockchafer, thieving ants: on the verge of chitinous chaos!” Louis obviously has a thing about arthropods, as this reprises a theme from the first album, and a track by the title of The Ladybug and the Cockchafer. Simultaneously regimented, playful, melodic and dissonant, Insect Party delves into the strange and restless hive mind, but these insects seem to be having fun in their own peculiar way. Keyboard scales ascend in unusual but harmonious fashion, underpinned by a repeating bass line in varied tempos. The small creatures skitter hither and thither to great effect.

While staying within its own modern jazz and fusion furrow, I can envisage that this album will appeal to those of you who are keen on adventurous music regardless of genre. The arrangements drift seamlessly from modernistic electronic and sci-fi fuzzed bass backgrounds, to venture forth across spacious cosmic vastness, to dropping in on rarefied alt-lounge jazz piano respectfully paying homage to ancient wonder. Contrasting with the more traditional jazz structures elsewhere, thoroughly up to date techno rhythms, played by men not machines I hasten to add, permeate Gemini – Part 2: Pollux (Yang).

The longest track here, at just over 13 minutes, is the melancholic Taurus Asleep. Quoting the storyline again: “Passing from one world to another. The Taurus constellation doesn’t glow anymore. Gemini Twins sing their sorrow and revolt against Nature’s inexorable law.” Extemporising on a Bolero-like theme the twins are entwined in a sorrowful lament, represented by Sarpay’s occasional flute, which strives to find joy in the sadness all around. The other focus being on Louis’ hypnotic bass lines and minimalistic percussion, Taurus Asleep is a consummate lesson in less is more. This song is cast adrift in nothingness, quite the meditative spoonful. The rebirth follows, Doff slowly awakening in the blackness on an ascending organ figure that recalls psychedelic era Soft Machine, guided by Louis’ driving bass line.

This album is a departure from predictable and frankly uninspiring prog normalcy but sadly stars, plants & bugswill achieve a mere sliver of the attention granted to musically lesser but more populist works, such is the way of the world. If like me you tire of the endless river of repeated rock tropes, struck by fear in a time machine and fancy something a bit different, but I hasten to add, thoroughly approachable, try this charming little oddity.

TRACK LISTING
01. Opening: Petrified Wood #1 (4:16)
02. Gemini – Part 1: Castor (Yin) (8:54)
03. Insect Party (AKA Soundfreeze #2) (6:48)
04. Nanobot (4:44)
05. Green Hojary (6:47)
06. Gemini – Part 2: Pollux (Yang) (9:25)
07. Taurus Asleep (13:15)
08. Doff (4:11)
09. Malt (6:25)
10. Closing: Petrified Wood #2 (3:15)

Total time – 67:59

MUSICIANS
Louis De Mieulle (Louison) – Fender Bass
Matt Garstka – Drums, Glockenspiel (7)
Casimir Liberski – Keyboards
Sarpay Özçagatay – Flute
Tareq Rantisi – Percussion

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: Dalang! Records
Catalogue#: Dalang! 2015-001
Year Of Release: 2015

 

 

 

 

 

Clair & Obscur

 

 

Louis de Mieulle – Stars, Plants & Bugs


 Stars, Plants & Bugs 
 Louis de Mieulle  
 2015 
 Dalang! Records  

Louis de Mieulle est un jeune bassiste français établi à New York. Après un premier album de jazz-fusion aux rythmes contagieux, il nous revient avec ce qui pourrait être considéré comme la bande-son d'un film entomologico-cosmique. Toujours entouré du batteur Matt Garstka (qui officie par ailleurs au sein du désormais culte groupe de metal-fusion Animals As Leaders) et du claviériste versatile et éclectique Casimir Liberski, il a voulu donner une orientation plus féerique à sa musique en s'adjoignant les services du flûtiste Sarpay Özcagatay et du percussionniste Tareq Rantisi. A l'image des mille couleurs et des mille-pattes qui peuplent un monde inspiré de l'école naïve du "Douanier" Rousseau, c'est une musique aux mille mouvements hypnotiques et à tout autant de mélodies charmeuses qui se déroule. En effet, là où la batterie déploie des trésors d'inventivité rythmique étourdissante, la flûte apporte quelques notes de poésie éthérée.

Par ailleurs, face à un fouillis agité signe de l'activité grouillante d'insectes dans une forêt imaginaire, et face à la sérénité imperturbable d'un ciel d'azur, les claviers se posent tantôt en spectateurs tantôt en acteurs opportunistes. Partageant en effet les moments de tendresse de la flûte (le piano lunaire de "Green Hojary"), ils peuvent également appuyer les cadences saccadées de la batterie (l'orgue Hammond exalté dans la suite "Insect Party (aka Soundfreeze #2)"), se retrouvant ainsi dans la même configuration que ces abeilles opportunistes qui butinent au gré de leurs rencontres.

Louis de Mieulle

En revanche, les percussions délicates ont choisi d'entrer dans une relation symbiotique avec la voûte céleste, alimentant sa sérénité de la même façon que les arbres des forêts tropicales fournissent aux fourmis arboricoles les ressources énergétiques dont elles ont besoin pour leur survie. A la manière de l'adrénaline montant chez un funambule suspendu dans les airs, ce jeu d'équilibre entre ciel et terre nous donne des frissons.

Avec quelques arrêts sur le regard bienveillant des étoiles d'un ciel immaculé, c'est donc un univers foisonnant que le bassiste à l'imagination débordante fait vivre dans toute sa splendeur et sa diversité.

Lucas Biela

 

 

 

 

 

Progressor

 

 

Louis de Mieulle - 2011 - "Defense Mechanisms"

 


****+
                 
TRACK LIST:

1.  Scapegoat-1 7:32
2.  Scapegoat-2 4:32
3.  Electric Cell Mutations 7:42
4.  Skuld 6:42
5.  Soundfrieze 7:42
6.  The Ladybug and the Cockchafer 5:55
7.  The Taste of Filth 11:32
8.  Portrait de Famille 9:09
9.  Solitude 5:28

LINEUP:

Louis de Mieulle – bass; keyboards
Casimir Liberski – keyboards 
Matt Garstka – drums 

Prolusion. Musician and composer Louis de MIEULLE has his background from France, where he got his education and was a part of the local music scene prior to relocating to the US a few years back. In the US he has formed and is a member of several band constellations, and has also instigated a solo career, with two albums to his name so far. "Defense Mechanisms" is the first of these, and was self-released in 2011.

Analysis. The most notable aspect of this production to take initial note of is that this is an instrumental excursion, and the second one is that this is a production primarily aimed towards a jazz-interested audience. While there are tendencies in other directions, the compositions on this album will by and large be much more at home in the jazz department than in any others. As such a certain fondness for instrumental jazz is a prerequisite to be able to enjoy the material presented here. Just about all the compositions here revolve around certain key features. Mieulle's bass provides a solid backbone to the proceedings, perhaps with a tad more room for bass soloing than on other jazz albums made by a trio constellation, and his main style of delivery is a tight and compact one. A more booming and dominant aspect of the bass guitar is presented on occasion, and more careful resonating notes, often supplementing in establishing a more unnerving or a warmer and organic atmosphere, are the main alternate modes of delivery presented. Drummer Garstka gives an emphasis to the tight and controlled aspect of this production, the tight and interwoven cooperation between bass and drums throughout possibly a reason for Mieulle himself to draw certain parallels towards math rock as far as this specific production goes. The use of repeated themes and cyclical arrangements also adding a certain emphasis to this dimension. Pianist Liberski is arguably the star of this production however. The manner in which he shifts between tight, controlled movements and more free-flowing and improvisational escapades adds life to these compositions, a feeling of liberty and freedom reigned in and then let loose. While bass and drums ultimately set the standard for the territories explored, it's the manner in which the piano movements hover on top of that backbone that creates the greater amount of nerve and tension here, in addition to the supplemental keyboards that is. Especially in the first half of this CD additional keyboards and sounds are used to further enrich the moods and atmospheres explored, at times used in a manner that does add a touch of jazz rock to the proceedings. Personally I was most taken by these compositions, and the opening threesome of Scapegoat-1, Scapegoat-2 and Electric Cell Mutations are the tracks I'd recommend jazz rock fans to lend an ear to.

Conclusion. Instrumental jazz with the piano as the central instrument and with a distinct bassist given room to shine is what Louis de Mieulle provides us on his first solo production "Defense Mechanisms". Many of the songs explore moods of a darker and subtly unnerving kind, and do touch upon jazz rock-oriented territories on occasion, too. Ultimately, this is a production with much more jazz than rock to it however, and those with an interest for instrumental jazz trios with drums, bass and piano as the key instruments would appear to be the main audience for this disc.

OMB=Olav M BjornsenMay 6, 2015 

 

 

 

 

 

Music Waves

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Louis de Mieulle - Stars, Plants & Bugs
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Ecrit par Corto1809 le 24.06.2013
On ne va pas se le cacher, Louis De Mieulle, petit frenchy parti vivre outre-Atlantique, n'a pas choisi la voie de la facilité pour son premier album solo. Amateurs de chansonnettes, de mélodies limpides ou de riffs bien gras, votre lecture s'arrête ici. Le reste ne vous intéressera pas.

Non, pour apprécier "Defense Mechanisms", il faut avoir l'oreille aventureuse et le goût du bizarre. Aimer les libertés, les grands espaces, les musiques qui évoluent sans cadre, les breaks rythmiques insolites, les boucles entêtantes, les dissonances parfois, bien que rares. La musique reste indescriptible (le disque est entièrement instrumental), fusion entre jazz, free jazz, jazz-rock, avant-garde et musique sérielle pour les lignes principales. Une musique qui vous remplit la tête d'images, si vous n'avez pas fui avant la fin du premier morceau. Une musique qui a un curieux pouvoir apaisant malgré l'enchainement de ses rythmes syncopés, l'ostinato de certains passages, ses fougues bruitistes et une complexité d'écriture avérée.

Pour exemple, 'Electric Cell Mutations' est décrit par l'auteur comme l'évolution des motifs par inversion, augmentation, superposition dans un processus intellectuel et géométrique. Le profane entendra une musique débridée et évolutive qui finit par se structurer autour des arabesques élégantes du piano. Un titre qui ressemble par certains côtés à Hatfield And The North. Il faut dire que Louis de Mieulle a de solides références : diplômé en composition classique du Conservatoire National de Paris, de l'école de jazz American School Of Modern Music et du Berklee College of Music à Boston, un pédigrée qui inspire le respect. Pour l'accompagner, Matt Garstka qui joue de la batterie depuis l'âge de huit ans et Casimir Liberski, pianiste de jazz précoce et doué.

Avec un tel casting, on se doute que la musique est tout sauf simpliste. La virtuosité est de rigueur mais, loin de se perdre dans un onanisme musical de mauvais aloi, le trio emmène l'auditeur aux confins du rêve dans un voyage musical inspiré et dépaysant. Certes, certaines longueurs ne sont pas évitées et quelques passages ardus nécessitent de la persévérance. Mais si les mélodies sont difficilement mémorisables, l'écoute reste agréable grâce à la fluidité des lignes mélodiques et la chaleur de l'interprétation.

En dépit de toutes ses qualités, "Defense Mechanisms" reste un album à réserver aux amateurs de jazz, de jazz rock ou aux assoiffés de virtuosité. Ceux-là, et ceux-là seulement, auront la patience nécessaire pour décoder les arcanes labyrinthiques d'une musique souvent déroutante qui n'oublie cependant pas d'être somptueuse.
Note: 4/5
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Clair & Obscur

 

Louis de Mieulle – Defense Mechanisms

LouisDeMieulleDF
 Defense Mechanisms 
 Louis de Mieulle  
 2011  
 Autoproduction  

Louis de Mieulle n'est pas totalement inconnu du lectorat de Clair & Obscur puisque le jeune bassiste et compositeur français est l'un des membres de l'émérite Casimir Liberski Trio, une formation jazz éclectique et avant-gardiste, dont l'unique album "The Caveless Wolf" compte parmi nos grands coups de cœur de ces derniers mois. A l'image de son complice pianiste originaire de Belgique, Louis est à la fois un virtuose confirmé et un insatiable créatif, avec un parcours finalement assez proche qui débute par un apprentissage précoce de l'art musical. A l'âge de 7 ans, le petit Louis manipule déjà l'imposant violoncelle, et son cursus le conduira au Conservatoire National de Paris (formation classique) puis à l'American School (jazz), avant de traverser l'Atlantique pour s'en aller poursuivre avec succès ses études musicales au Berklee College of Music de Boston. C'est là-bas qu'il rencontre un autre lauréat, le pianiste Casimir Liberski, point de départ d'une longue et fructueuse collaboration artistique, sans oublier sa contribution à divers projets plus où moins liées au jazz (citons par exemple le collectif Soul'D Out basé à Harlem, avec son style explosif combinant la soul, la funk et le gospel). En France, Louis de Mieulle forme Soundchaser, un groupe de jazz pointu au son spatial et groovy, et participe par ailleurs à divers projets plus "mainstream" dans les milieux rock et hip-hop, parmi lesquels une collaboration avec Lulu Gainsbourg (le fils du grand Serge donc), que Louis accompagnera à la guitare basse sur sa tournée 2011.

La même année, le musicien enregistre "Defense Mechanisms" à Williamsburg (quartier de New-York pour les connaisseurs), son premier album "solo" qui fait appel aux contributions de l'américain Matt Garstka derrière les fûts et de Casimir Liberski au piano et claviers, également portés au crédit de nôtre (décidément !) très doué bassiste multi-instrumentiste. Si l'esthétique instrumentale est ici globalement plus homogène et plus "électrique" que sur "The Caveless Wolf", réalisé l'année suivante avec un line-up quasi-identique, chacune des 9 compositions inclues dans l'album affiche une forte personnalité, avec un caractère unique et une structure propre. Le style général est incroyablement varié, assez indescriptible et riche de nombreuses influences parfaitement digérées, qui feront le bonheur des mélomanes curieux et exigeants. "Defense Mechanisms" sonne comme un mélange détonnant et alambiqué de jazz moderne résolument avant-gardiste et d'effluves jazz-rock-fusion des années 70, avec ces mêmes couleurs délicieusement "vintage", parfois proches de la fameuse école dite "de Canterbury" (Hatfield And The North, National Health, Gilgamesh, etc).

Dans ce maelstrom de rythmes (pour ne pas dire "polyrythmies", avec en point d'orgue le trippant et mystérieux "Soundfrieze", jubilatoire à souhait !), de notes et de climats changeants, il y a aussi un petit quelque-chose emprunté à la vaste et étrange généalogie du "rock in opposition". En témoignent par exemple "Electric Cell Mutations" ou encore "Portrait De Famille", dont les passages dissonants évoquent aussi bien les expériences d'un King Cimson en mode exploratoire que les folles digressions des Sotos, Present ou Deus Ex machina, en plus typiquement "jazz" toutefois. Mais attention aux références : loin de moi en effet l'idée d'assimile l'album à une œuvre de rock prog, même si le caractère "progressif" de cette musique particulièrement sophistiquée et en constante mouvance (mention spéciale au fleuve et labyrinthique "The Taste Of Filth"), est tout à fait indéniable.

Au final, "Defense Mechanisms" est un album très écrit, brillamment composé et à l'exécution on ne peut plus maitrisée et organique, où aucun instrument, pas même la basse volubile de son maître d'œuvre (au son tantôt rond, tantôt incisif) ne vient se tailler la part du lion. A l'occasion de son premier essai transformé, Louis de Mieulle délivre avec ses deux acolytes une musique passionnante et à la précision redoutable, un premier opus entre ombre et lumière dont le caractère expérimental ne laisse pourtant aucune place à un quelconque sentiment de froideur ou d'hermétisme. De la musique "intello" avec de la mélodie, de l'émotion, et beaucoup de feeling en quelque-sorte ! Si si, c'est possible, la preuve…

Philippe Vallin (9/10)

 

 

 

 

 

Dutch Progressive Rock Page

Louis De Mieulle – Defense Mechanisms

Louis De Mieulle – Defense Mechanisms
Country of Origin: France/USA
Format: CD
Record Label: Independent
Catalogue #: N/A
Year of Release: 2011
Time: 66:20
Info: Louis De Mieulle
Samples: Click here

Tracklist: Scapegoat 1 [Projection] (7:32), Scapegoat 2 [Displacement] (4:32), Electric Cell Mutations (7:42), Skuld (6:42), Soundfrieze (7:42), The Ladybug And The Cockchafer (5:55), The Taste Of Filth (11:32), Portrait De Famille (9:09), Solitude (5:28)

A graduate of the National Conservatory Of Paris (classical writing), and the American School (jazz) and finally of the Berklee School Of Music in Boston, USA, Louis De Mieulle is a highly accomplished electric bass player who has also formed his own “jazz-groove” band Soundchaser in France, and worked with Serge Gainsborough’s son Lulu, as well as playing in more mainstream projects to pay the rent.

Defense Mechanisms was recorded in New York in 2011 and is his first album under his own name. Louis is joined by American drummer Matt Garstka who comes from a more rock/fusion based background, and Belgian jazz keyboard player Casimir Liberski, also a graduate of Berklee Music School, and the first thing to notice is that there are no six string guitars on this album, Louis also contributing his own occasional keyboards. I won’t let that put me off too much; after all it was good enough for most of the career of Soft Machine.

Unlike the Canterbury luminaries, Louis and his cohorts have produced an album that is far more jazz based than anything Ratledge and company came up with, being, I would hazard a guess, far more technically competent musicians. That is not to say this is soulless, far from it. Polyrhythmic and complex the piano and bass fire off each other, and fly apart only to come together seamlessly on Skuld (a Norse goddess of destiny apparently) before a display of dazzling virtuosity by Louis on the bass. 

Syncopation, arpeggio, and probably many other more obscure musical terms I wouldn’t even attempt to kid you that I have knowledge of feature throughout, and the result is an engaging and sometimes challenging, but always entertaining listen. The notes to Soundfrieze quote a poem by Lautréamont extolling the virtues of mathematics, and the song is built on precise structures that come to conclusions, before extrapolating into infinite and quantum musical corollaries. Is there such a thing as “math-jazz”? I’ve no idea, but it will have you tapping your toe and scratching your head at one and the same time.

The song notes are as esoteric as the music, and The Ladybug And The Cockchafer is introduced with - “Ladybug (piano) teaches a song to Cockchafer (organ). Scarab (bass) intervenes – he’s jealous. The two lovers then proceed with a duet. Cockchafer is so happy that he goes into a generous improvisation. But Skuld underhandedly decides to end all this nonsense.” – which says it at least as well as I could. This one is also my favourite track on the CD, a lovely and complete piece of music. Who needs guitars?

The longest track on the album, Taste The Filth extemporises on a dissonant piano chord sequence, winding its way through a multi-rhythmic labyrinth of stunning complexity, the bass and piano dancing round each other like crazed fireflies. Solo piano in a lounge-jazz mood soothes the mood, the melodic theme maintained by the bass before morphing into a sinuous funky bass passage, presaging the return of dissonance, the piece showing the chops of the ensemble to full effect.

Solitude ends the album with a solo bass improv that dabbles in Indian scales, and is a fitting and calming end to the album. The fact that what is essentially a bass solo lasting for over six minutes can maintain one’s interest is indication of Louis’ high musical capabilities and ear for a melody.

Although definitely not “prog”, and certainly aimed at the jazz market, Defense Mechanisms is certainly intriguing enough to appeal to those of us into the more synapse-stretching end of the prog spectrum, but it is also direct enough to be accessible.

Conclusion: 7 out of 10

ROGER TRENWITH

 

 

 

 

Sea Of Tranquility

 

French musician Louis De Mieulle was born and raised in Paris and at an early age started playing the cello. Before moving to the United States he graduated from National Conservatory of Music and The American School of Modern Music. Once in the US he obtained a degree from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He is now based out of New York City. Those are impressive credentials and it shows on his first solo album Defense Mechanisms.

The band consists of Mieulle (bass, keyboards), Matt Garstka (drums) and Casimir Liberski (piano, keyboards). Mieulle's brand of jazz takes the listener into other territories such as fusion and the avant-garde, which makes for an absorbing and interesting listen. Mieulle's bass work is a highlight throughout and the music is quite spacious, allowing all the instruments to shine in a clear and concise way.

Songs like "Scapegoat 1" and "Scapegoat 2" show off Mieulle's deep bass grooves and Garstka's free flowing polyrhythmic structures on the drums. Both tunes settle into a cool sound which I found to be strangely hypnotic and trance-like. The second tune is a bit slower offering a more minimalistic approach. The strangely titled "Electric Cell Mutations" is more chaotic with fuzzier bass tones and dreamy cascades of piano lines with elements of fusion creeping into the mix. 

One of the more interesting tracks is the trippy "Soundfrieze". Cool effects and spacey textures give this one a more experimental feel while staying within the confines of jazz. "The Taste of Filth" is the album's longest song showcasing outstanding piano, bass and drums. Garstka's complicated polyrhythms are a definite highlight and the song does a fine job blending slight harmonic discord with some outstanding melodies.

Defense Mechanisms is a fine debut which I whole heartedly recommend for jazz listeners searching for something a little different.

 

Track Listing

1. Scapegoat 1 (7:32) 
2. Scapegoat 2 (4:32) 
3. Electric Cell Mutations (7:42) 
4. Skuld (6:42) 
5. Soundfrieze (7:42) 
6. The Ladybug and the Cockchafer (5:55) 
7. The Taste of Filth (11:32) 
8. Portrait de Famille (9:09) 
9. Solitude (5:28)

Added: April 1st 2012
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score: 
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 1055
Language: english