Jeudi 22 Août


Le Cocon | Live & Experimental Stage

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Label : Wart

From : Nantes | France

An invitation to disorder. This is what the duo ATOEM offers us on their debut album. In physics, entropy refers to the degree of disorder in a system. There is a law that says the entropy of the universe only increases, that order is only temporary, and that sooner or later, chaos will ensue. Gabriel and Antoine found an analogy with their music, which often starts with a clear orchestration and ends in an explosion of synthetic and deconstructed sounds. The adventure began in Rennes, France, about fifteen years ago when a science enthusiast was looking for a new drummer for his rock band. A student came to him and joined the band which later became a duo, as the number of synthesizers and machines increased in their instrument collection. With only two EPs, ATOEM is one of the revelations of the Trans Musicales festival in 2018 before being spotted by MaMA or the Inouïs du Printemps de Bourges.

In terms of influences, we think of the Dutch duo Weval with whom Gabriel and Antoine share a taste for techno that does not rely solely on speed but on harmony and textures. There is also Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother, which inspired them to embark their modular synths on psychedelic experiments. In a time where kicks hit hard on most dance floors, Antoine and Gabriel thrive in a certain slowness. « Making music is working with silence. » Some songs can go down to 85 BPM, a natural tempo like a heartbeat that gives more space for sound arrangements.

From the beginning of « Entropy », ATOEM infuses a new wave spirit with « Sinking Ocean » with its electric bass and the voices of Antoine and Gabriel which intermingle on a text with surrealist accents. They then move on to «Lost Work,» a more nervous and abrasive track with a heavy beat, closer to the tension in their live performances, as a distant echo of old anxieties. « Mercury » and « Under the Void » feature not only bass, but also guitar arpeggios and the sound of real drums. ATOEM took great pleasure in seeking balance between synthetic and organic sounds to stimulate our senses. « Summer’s Grave » accelerates the pace and takes us on a ride to a rave in the UK in the late 80s, where energy is the best antidote to paranoia, before returning to a form of tenderness on the Italo ballad « Ride On Time » and its dreamy keyboards, where the duo twists the texts of writer Pablo Melchior with slight autotune effects. On « Entropy », ATOEM plays with our emotions by alternating the stridency and the crunch of « Mode Erase » and the nostalgic and Wevalesque waves of « Ghosts of the Past » before landing calmly on « Dawn », an impressionistic piece composed in Naples while watching the sun rise behind Mount Vesuvius.

ATOEM mixes art, history, science, science fiction, mythology, and politics in one eruption. « Uprising » and its heavy techno with oriental overtones and electronic sirens roars with revolt. It was essential for Antoine and Gabriel to give more meaning to their music, to surpass their producer virtuosity and to gain depth. « Les couleurs du son », a poem written and performed by NVVN, mixes senses and sounds and leaves us in a strange and muffled dream before the breakbeat of « Synthropy » and its arpeggiators, between Moroder, Sebastien Tellier, and François de Roubaix. And that is not all: the French duo exceeds expectations and spirals into acid with « Lunacy » a track that one cannot wait to sweat on while they play it live. Antoine and Gabriel leave us in full descent with « Et les montagnes fumaient », another instant classic from Grenoble this time, where heavy rhythms are replaced with discreet percussions and synth melodies that are reminiscent of Justice’s lyricism.

For their first album, ATOEM takes risks and goes beyond the artistic horizon that made their reputation, seeking accidents and counterpoints. Anything that can help them bring out the music they have in mind in all its richness. At the dawn of the era of artificial intelligence, « Entropy » reminds us that it is indeed two humans, made of flesh and feelings, who control and turn the knobs of these machines.

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