Among other accomplishments in writing, publishing, and visual art, this artist gets some of the best sound of any of the many recording artists categorized in a technical sense as home tapers. Whether tape itself is actually involved anymore as the technology for home recording changes is hopefully not an issue: "home hard disking," for example, sounds too much like an extreme sport of some kind or something even worse. The material on La Vie Sous Cloche comes from three different cassettes released in the late '90s and have been compiled and programmed in such a way as to give the impression of a coherent CD. Arnaud Le Gouefflec seems to have an infinite supply of strange, attractive, treated vocals up his sleeve, or down his throat as it were. It is these vocal processings that often put the entire track over the top in terms of enjoyment. Even after repeated listenings the listener should still be surprised by some of the juxtapositions. No track is a throwaway, many of the songs having extremely catchy melodies. It is a bit audacious to use a Link Wray loop to set up one track, but this even comes off great when Le Gouefflec delivers a deranged guitar solo that would have given the late Linkster a rumble in his own stomach. A variety of instruments including the dreaded drum machine fill out the sound, the latter even proving not to be the artist's death knell as if often the case with such enterprises when a real drummer cannot be cajoled into participation. While the creation of something truly musical and responsive from the automatic drum equipment is a rare thing, the maestro here manages to make cous-cous from pseudo-snare, pate' from mock tom-toms. Even when the drum sounds are truly horrible the final effect is still enjoyable, as in several tracks that sound like a Madonna single that has gotten wedged inside a seismic fault.
AllMusic Review by Eugene Chadbourne