Les Hauts de Plafond

Musique d'Appartement à Tendance Radicale... Peut-Être

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This album is one wicked piece of sound collage and electro-pop. First item on the weirdness list: the group's name. Les Hauts de Plafond translates to "The High Ceilings," but could also mean "The Ceilings' Tops" -- and don't forget that one man's ceiling is another man's floor. The title of this CD translates to "Loft Music With a Radical Leaning...Maybe." What it means remains uncertain, except for the lightly dadaist intent it reveals. Pierre Lutic and Philippe Gauthier have put together a series of "songs" and "tunes" out of snatched-up conversations, sampled records, acoustic instruments (double bass, vibraphone, bouzouki, drums), and electronics. The short tracks (14 in the course of 42 minutes) work like tableaux of a hip but deranged postmodern life. Every track has its quirks and personal references, but non-French listeners will hardly be able to squeeze any sense out of them. The album peaks twice, first with a grinding cover of Guy Marchand's "La Passionnata" (including a quote of the original's chorus propelled by a ululating diva). The other highlight is "Je Sais," a very nice acoustic guitar and bass workout. Listening to Musique d'Appartement à Tendance Radicale...Peut-Être is an entertaining activity (if not somewhat overwhelming for unsuspecting listeners looking for a beat to dance to). Yet, little of it sticks after the CD stops spinning. A lot of fun nonetheless.

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