Hors Sujet – Novembre (EP, 2014)

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It’s peculiar to me how often I find myself being sent submissions of Post-Rock releases, since my general attitude on the genre is relatively dim and most of those that I’ve reviewed previously here have been none too glowing. That being said I’m appreciative of the fact that people continue to do so, since on the rare occasion I do get something I really enjoy, as is the case in Florent Paris’s latest EP under his Hors Sujet alias, Novembre.

The first and longest of this two-piece EP is “L’ancre et la tempete”, or The Anchor and the Storm; arriving on glittery rolls of thin electric guitar suspended in a reverb filled space, it slowly allows supplemental instrumentation to come to the fore as it prepares for its typical Post-Rock extended crescendo. It’s actually a great track though and the slow climb towards its peak is surprisingly unobtrusive and subtle, especially in its earliest throes. Things shift and change effortlessly, introducing crunching, processed guitar lines and swirling but distal vocal meanderings in its first bout before blowing itself out and returning stronger and more empowered as it attempts to rattle our core. Crashing cymbals and fluttering, circling guitars batter the senses in a maelstrom of dense textures but we’re able to weather the storm across its duration and before long its brief surge of energy has all but faded, leaving us alone with only the remnants of its windy heart.

Its death throes slip effortlessly into its companion piece, “C’est comme ca que les fantomes reviennent”, or That’s How The Ghosts Come Back. Predictably things are a little darker this time around, with more menacing and foreboding beginnings introduced through the growling guitar drone currents and a sense of trepidation in the quieter and more distant chords of the raw, unprocessed guitars. A cascade of reversed cymbal crashes takes us into the heart of the piece, taking off into an aggressive climax this time filled and propelled by drum lines which really give it some extra power and weight, the delicate acoustic instrumentation all but lost under its urgent cacophony and powerless to hold back the tide of sound. This movement remains thick and dense right up to the very end before it bottoms out into the abyss.

This is a really wonderfully paced EP in my eyes; 20 minutes is the perfect length of time for this kind of music to express itself in the biggest and grandest possible way without then going overboard and cranking out unnecessary filler or pushing the crescendos too far for too long. Florent’s done a great job of keeping a certain level of suspense and emotional investment whilst keeping it neatly concise, which is definitely commendable. If you’re looking for a quick but strong emotional storm to invest in this evening then I’d highly recommend this brilliant EP; you can listen to it in its entirety for free in the player below.

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