"BLOW UP" (Italy) Dec.99
"Live review" Forte Prenestino (Rome)
The concert starts with two members playing the guitar while the third one is kneeling on the stage floor, banging a low pitched rhythm on a calabash : one instantly understands that Double Nelson is about to enter a shadowy world. On stage, they seem to be moved by successive ground swells, continually swapping instruments and roles, over and over. Gaze, the singer, is staring intently at the audience which is already bewitched by her baby doll grin - while, at her back, Pask and Kazi generate a striking atmosphere. Then, the three of them get closer, fusing their bodies with the deep sounds, confused whipers or lugubrious samples. The vocals, when they stand out from this magma, are distorted and dark. The tracks are propelled by staggering bass lines and haunting beats, which create sonic events that encircle you. Labyrinthine and ruthless, Double Nelson play a different version of their claustrophobic records (5 in total...) live; Their latest album "Indoor" was recorded at night, in their apartment. Listening to it is a bit like listening to a living-dead beast scream. Their stage performance, which is far fiercer and more impetuous, leaves the audience literally stupefied. Most of their reviews compare them to a diverse variety of bands and this confirms the elusive side of their music as well as their skill in expressing themselves through many different languages. It's no use to try and sum up these sounds in a formula that would give the essence of it. With DN one isn't dealing with satisfaction nor with pleasure but rather with continuous tension and insatiable desire : "La route est longue et le prom'neur est fatigué, le prom'neur est fatigué..."
"PLOT" (Germany) May 99
I can tell for sure that I have never heard anything like this before. It starts pretty disturbingly with a song that just consists of a mean bass line, a bass drum and the groans of a "evil throat amputee". The record remains very bass-oriented, very dark and fascinatingly scary. "Bass & Drums" describes best these tracks since the most important instruments should probably cited first. It's spiced with short samples, industrial splinters and bad karma. So now the soundtrack for a psychopath movie has been written, we are waiting for the script which must at least include skin removal, eye soup and liver piercing to stand up to it. A universe which shares common borders with "Liquid Lunch", "Eraser head" and "Lost Highway". The sound for the end of a millennium, populated by psychopaths, lunatics and freaks.
"BLOW UP" (Italy) Sept. 99
They are three, they come from France. It seems that they've already recorded 5 albums and I feel really sorry to discover them only now. Believe me, Double Nelson definitely have a style of their own. It starts like Suicide but gets weirder when the "à la Tom Waits under sedatives" hollow voice turns up (Chouèches), or when it goes on with industrial, dark and torn to pieces rock 'n roll (Jour J, Country Stress), distorted grind funk (Report), parody of chanson (Festino) and blues (Pécé Blues, #13), "on the borders of "Residents land" (Kra Ka Toa), dub from the catacombs (Wow come on), or skeleton rock (Ready Made) ... The whole sound is of an absolute coherence ("from the swamp" bass sound covered with mud) and makes this album a rock'n roll voodoo, as dark as tar, a hell of a nightmare (guests dressed for a wedding partying at a funeral...), or even a "cabaret" version of Red Lorry-Yellow Lorry. I can tell for sure that i've never listened to such a queer record.
"UP" (France) Sept. 99
Bright ambient tribal rock. This trio from Nancy, real UFO of the French musical scene, has carried on with its quest of an unconventional style for about twelve years until this fifth album (the previous two were released on a US record company). Noisy could be a suitable term to label these three geezers ; but adjectives like free, independent and bloody personal would fit best to define their mixture of sounds which reminds us of The Residents of the 70's. Incantations on hypnotic dub basses, collages, cuts-up and surreal dialogs, industrial-post-gothic-rock growls, whispers, the Double Nelson work the matter as geniune sculptors of sound. Intense, dull, sometimes violent, but never good-looking and smooth as pop music can be. Anti-pop that is ?
"JADE" (France) May 99
By chance, the city of Nancy provides us with an unequalled crushing, an age-old gust of sound, an "end of works" uproar: Double Nelson clears everything on its way and makes you sniff the ideal soundtrack for a night ride.
"LONGUEUR D'ONDES" (F) Feb.00
At Double Nelson's place they're specialists in recording virtual soundtracks for video games. Each track represents a scene ; the sound in the background gives you the impression that you are being toyed with by a much bigger entity. Double Nelson pulls the strings and the listener is inexorably captured by the bewitching singing, looking for a possible way out. But does one really wish to find it ? For the end of the game, as in any game, also means the end of the pleasure.
"AQUARIUS" (San Francisco) May 99
Super fucked-up, bass-heavy "post-rock" from France--if such creepy electric thud can be considered "rock" at all. At times, the vocals sound like PJ Harvey with a traechotomy. Dark, sinister, and highly unique. They really don't sound like any other band I can think of, from France or elsewhere.
"LIVE XS" (Holland) Nov. 99
The next time David Lynch wants to make a film like "Lost Highway" and if he's looking for some music to match his pictures, he'd better get in touch with Double Nelson. Blast! What a noise these three Frenchies are able to make ! Do not listen to this record before going to bed. Every sound on it is frightening. Mean bass lines and loop to loop rhythms are the basic matter of the tracks, repeating on and on like a machine from hell invented by a loony scientist. Stuffed in between, above and under, the samples are everywhere : wind blowing, planes flying at low altitude, unknown creatures screaming out and many more dubious sounds. Everything that resembles to vocals has been de-humanized, computerized or sounds like a vocal cords amputee.The lyrics are rather close to nonsense - at least unknown to the civilized world - or have been transformed so as to be incomprehensible. It may be better this way!!!
"NOUVELLE VAGUE" (France) July 99
Already the fifth album of this unconventional band. Their music gives shivers down the spine. Everything is sampled : monsters, whispers, telephones, synthesizers...All these sounds (and more) clang together to create an agonizing feeling of suspense. No use to try and label them or attempt a descritpion of their music. Maybe that's why they're signed on Pandemonium (an extremely active independent label from Marseille oriented towards unclassifiable music). Yet, if we had to compare them to someone, we could risk and dare to say it's a mix of Tom Waits (but far darker and closer to rock), Treponem Pal, Ulan Bator and Salaryman. With these 15 rather short tracks, they move on from industrial atmospheres to quieter songs, ghost songs, like a succession of introductions which fit together well in the end. The result is surprisingly metallic and organic at the same time, almost visceral. This record seems to be the ideal soundtrack for a David Lynch film...Hem!
"SDZ" (France) Jan.00
The frenchies from Nancy are back with another intriguing and surprising album. Their musical approach is full of all sorts of experimentation which results in a mix of disturbing, subtle and hallucinatory cinematic ambience. Double Nelson play their music with great intelligence and although it's not easily
accessible, it's not difficult to understand why they are the beneficiaries
of international recognition.
"GATO NEGRO" (France) May 99
Here come our manic French friends from Nancy again; three bizarre individuals with their endearing personalities and communicative talent. Each time they reappear, their universe, crammed with weird creatures, puzzles us even more. They live on the margin of music and plot their clear-sighted plan to bewitch us and have us recognize they're unique and unbiased. Their deep conviction: play on stage and present a complete show altogether visual and auditive. Surprising people seems to be their form of art and I can assure you they're the only ones to do that in Fance. So what?!? It doesn't matter that much because, year after year (twelve to be precise), Double Nelson thrusts forward this personal sincerity and originality that makes them different from most of their contemporaries. Here's a strange mix of electronic sounds, rock, afro-blues and distorted vocals.
An individual society which stands apart from a media formated world.
"SKUG" (Austria) Jan.00
Double Nelson are anarchists. Their music is unique, doesn't fit in any common category and has changed only marginally within the last ten years (since the release of their first albums). Simple, monotonous bass lines, rumbling drums (or drumbox) and an undefineable collection of voices and noises are the basic ingredients. With this they create an atmosphere that would fit well in every ghost train in any amusement park in the world. Notice: No high-tech ghost train, rather one with a certain 'flair', with damaged pasteboard monsters and rotten carts. Music for ironically broken ghost trains in a way. Double Nelson are nomads. They are permanently on tour and take their living room with them on stage. For their new album, "Indoor", they actually retreated to their own four walls (in Nancy/France), waited for the night to fall, switched off the light, put their headphones on and recorded. You can hear that. Indoor is at least as good as the four previous Double Nelson albums, and it sounds - and this is a bit of a disadvantage - almost like a twin of its ancestor "Le Grand Cornet".
"491" (France) April 99
Double Nelson is said to be the sort of band which constantly tries to remain different from the others, and those of you who saw them live will easily understand why. Although they have resisted ultra saturated trends, their tainted atmospheric sound introduces trouble deep into yourself and beyond. Frequencies and noises of all kinds melt together in the shade in order to tell you stories for which words would be powerless.The samples and calabash tidy the place up while saturated vocals roam into a weirdo world. Beneath this magma, the bass frequencies astonishingly vibrate right into your stomach. Machines and humans up to total fusion. Their sound hurts where there was nothing to worry about before.
"ROCK SOUND" (France) May 99
Imperturbable, absolutely unfaithful to the laws of marketing, the Double Nelson have carried on their own way for a dozen of years now. Thus, trying to label the music played by this trio from Nancy (F) is totally impossible. Once you've listened to their albums, full of brainwaves and dead-ends, you realize you just can' t define their music. Tracks like "To Report" or "Ready Made" are close to the noisy delirium of a John Zorn (at least his attempts to compose soundtracks for indie Japanese films) or even to Sonic Youth. Take the achetype of the good old 3-4 minute song and you have a hint of what a Double Nelson record is not; you'll be carried away by these astonishing sound sequences, noises and moods. It is therefore necessary to try and forget about your own musical references (rock, rap or techno) before tackling this dangerous but mindblowing album.
"LONGUEUR D'ONDES" (France) May 99
For more than ten years this trio has offered, on stage as well as in studio, a phantasmagorical universe divided into a variety of forms, creating a willingly unfileable musical phenomenon. An out of trend musical sphere, as uncompromising as it is intuitive, full of dreams and nightmares at the same time.
The most delirious rock beat we've ever listened to.
"VOX" (France) May 99
Their latest album "Indoor" places this band from Nancy in the first rank of sound experimentators. Having nothing more to prove in their original raving-punk style, their music has become slow and organic and is stuffed with electro-squeletons and hypnotic ambiences in which the vocals and instruments are unidentifiable. Their moto: "Music doesn't exist unless it drives you nuts."
"MAGIC" (France) May 99
...The Double Nelson used to mix their guitars with machine generated sounds before it became a commonplace. Things have changed a lot since then, of course. But Double Nelson have carried on playing their music without regard to commercial necessity, forgetting the song concept while setting apart the vocals (at least the traditional ones.). On their former album "Le grand cornet" their sound evoked the music made by, more or less pleasant pixies in their caves. This album is centered around a bass sound with aquatic, muffled and bouncy echoes to it. There are layers of dirty and mean loops (hello the Residents!), noises from everyday life (from electric utensils to planes), all of which is worked out in a darkly threatening and yet playful fashion. Rock, or at least its spirit, is never far, but paradoxically, to give colour to the apparent austerity of their music, they should try and get closer to the melodic instinct which belonged to them in the early days.
"LIVE IN MARSEILLE" (France) Aug. 99
About the album "Eat, eat, eat"
After buying the latest Double Nelson record ("Indoor" released by Pandemonium), and after seeing them live at "Le Balthazar" (what a live shock), I decided to explore the second-hand stores to find their previous albums. Among the first ten I found their second album released in 1992. A remarkable sleeve (as always) full of monsters and fire, cheerfully mixing 2D and 3D to a noisy music that seems to be more conventional (???) than on the following releases and therefore more within the reach of everyone but as dark at the same time. The rhythms have more to do with rock, the lyrics are more easily understood even if their meaning is blurry.
If you got any chance to find it, just have a try ! It's packed with hits !
"DES TOURS & DES NUITS" (France) July 99
We often talk about this trio of geniuses based in Nancy, the concerts of which ride on through spontaneous rock, creative shambles and happily chaotic happenings. For more than ten years now, Double Nelson has been spreading the noisy scraps of its delirious universe made of aleatoric machines, electric creakings and whispering monsters. Let me tell you that if you don't understand everything (are they even conscious of what they create themselves ?) you never get bored (neither do they for sure). If a Double Nelson "concert" is one thing (I've never been flabbergasted like that by a live band !), exploring one of their albums with headphones on (a bit smashed at around 3 a.m if possible) is another. A genuine "meteorite of exultation" resembling nothing familiar. It's a bit surprising at the beginning, you'll see. And it remains so after. In short, just pounce on "Indoor", an album crowded with ideas.
You'll discover the staggering creation of a real great French band, far too modest to take itself seriously.