Michel & Michel

Et Ses Danseuses

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Going into no further explanation of identity than calling themselves Michel & Michel, this French group is presumably a duo, but remember the journalistic rule about assuming anything. From the opening of the very first track of Et Ses Danseuses, the performers establish the presence of samplers and other electronic gadgetry as well as mixing and editing techniques, all of which means this is a musical world that is not bound by any one player's instrumental abilities. There is no feeling of ensemble size or shape to any of the tracks, or even a dominant style. The song titles go some distance toward a suitable description of the events, but it is a toss-up whether "Techno Who" or "Scenette Post-Canine" present the most accurate portrait in a nutshell. The metaphor also exploits the double meaning of "nut." If there is one overriding concern with Michel & Michel, it is that the music seems somewhat insane. True, there are groovy rhythms from time to time, but these are not meant to contribute to the sweat on the dancefloor. Everything that happens is a transition to something else; the listener can add it all up and scratch their head. One absolutely brilliant moment combines what sounds like an acoustic guitar -- tuned lower than normal and toying with a raga -- with a recording of someone pouring a pitcher of water. Relaxez-Vous, a delightful little label based out of Pau, France, presents this music in its typical manner, including an innovative handmade package and a playing time roughly the length of an EP. Michel & Michel could use a longer forum to conduct their musical discourse; instead of seeming like a brilliantly concise statement, this is a snack that once finished provides a few good moments to look back on as well as a wish that there were more. The silk screening on the inside of the CD cover created some kind of imprint on the business side of the disc, but this did not prevent the disc from playing accurately.

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