Domenique Dumont, Comme Ça (Antinote, 6/22/2015)
Long ago, there existed a world in which people shared “mix tapes” (look it up on the interwebs, children). A collection of songs, some grouped by a theme, some not. Many would trade these tapes – demos, random mixes, live bootlegs – as a way to both discover and pass on new sounds to others. The production was often somewhat murky – what’s euphemistically called “lo-fi” in current parlance – but there were gems to be mined if one took the time to listen.
Comme Ça, from Domenique Dumont, has the feel of something buried deep on one of these tapes – maybe towards the end of the first side, or the middle of the second, probably uncredited on the cover – that bears repeated rewinding and listening. Furthering this sense, the artist appears a bit of a mystery even to Antinote, the Paris-based label that released these six tracks (though this could certainly be part of the plan), who admit they “don’t know much” about the artist. The sole ‘tweet’ says merely “hi”; the soundcloud page provides little in the way of background, though seems to indicate Latvian origins by reference to a “Riga-Paris express” . It’s fun to have something with a little intrigue, n’est pas?
Whatever the case, the songs themselves are fantastic; wistful, precocious, charming bedroom pop. Spun-sugar light, yet containing so many parts that it begs repeated listens to extract the nectar.
Afro-caribbean influences take center stage, employed in ways similar to everyone from Serge Gainsbourg in his work with Sly and Robbie, on to Damon Albarn both with Blur, Gorillaz, & etc.: the cuíca drum sound in “La Basse et Les Shakers”, the calliope dub rock of “La Bataille de Neige”, the samba rhythm of the title track. Often, these rhythmic impulses are aligned with a nod and wink to 60s lounge vibe, particularly on the title track and dream lounge cut “Le Chateau Corail”, which carries a Dmitri from Paris vibe. Adding to this cheekiness, many of the beats and synthesized sounds appear to be played on a Casio keyboard from the 80s.
Comme Ça is available for download from the Antinote Bancamp page.
Highlights: “Comme Ça”, “L’Esprit de L’Escalier”, “Le Chateau Corail”.