Bruit Direct Disques’ Summer Soiree
by Ron Wadlinger

Bruit Direct Disques is an excellent French label specializing in experimental vinyl. To date, the label’s unleashed seven records onto an unsuspecting world, mostly focusing on French musicians and noisemakers, but also branching out Stateside to include the likes of Cro Magnon, who will be familiar to regular readers of these pages. Just recently, Bruit Direct put out two more releases—one 7-inch and one LP— that only serve to strengthen the label’s growing reputation.

Atelier Mediterranee, Atelier Mediterranee EP
Organized in part by Cheveu’s David Lemoine, Atelier Mediterranee is a free-form music workshop for the mentally handicapped. Recorded during sessions that took place in 2010, this 7-inch, which represents the first public document of the workshop, goes a long way toward demonstrating the truly interesting art that can result from endeavors like this. Side A consists of “Mediterranee,” which is centered around a rapid-fire synth loop and seemingly haphazard, slap-dash percussion that’s barely audible under the loop’s racket. Ominous vocal passages fade in and out of the mix throughout, as does assorted incidental swirling synth sounds. The track is unrelenting until its waning moments, where some final drumbeats fade out underneath layered childrens’ chantings, with the overall impression being one of noise-channeled catharsis. The flipside features two tracks, the first being “Flunch,” a sort of lo-fi soundtrack to a haunted funhouse, complete with calliope-styled synths and blasts of noise. “Artena” is a disorienting whirlwind of hums and buzzes swirling around droning vocals that at the end turn into an almost beautiful atonal organ passage. There’s not many sounds out there that are comparable to this, and it will be interesting to see what the Atelier Mediterranee births in the future.

La Ligne Claire, Cheri
La Ligne Claire is a Parisian quartet that seems to specialize in making deconstructed transcendental music that strays far from its traditional rock base. In this sense, they’re a bit like a French version of Los Llamarada, although that comparison might err on the side of oversimplifying both bands. This six-song 12-inch—billed as a mini-LP—serves as a mission statement for the young group, one that sets forth their particular brand of “anti-funk,” a groove-oriented, minimalistic punk with varying degrees of African influences.

Album opener “Cheri,” which sounds vaguely reminiscent of DNA, begins with a disjointed, mechanical drumbeat that is soon joined by equally disjointed (but somehow groovy) bass, guitars rattling off slowly cascading, sloppy riffs, and half-shouted vocals buried in the mix. A similar sound is found on “La Porte,” albeit one that benefits from its breezy female vocal, which provides a nice contrast to the track’s somewhat jarring sound. “Samata” is more aggressive, with the vocals being more upfront in the mix and the pace approaching more of a steady sprint rather than a leisurely gait. Fans of David Thomas’s solo work from the ’80s will find similar territory mined with “Le Funk,” while “Tues Mon Coeur” sounds like a shambling, alternate reality Times New Viking. While La Ligne Claire might need some more time to perfect its racket, there’s definitely something intriguing in this well-conceived mess.