Recommended: Collectif SPATULE – “Le Vanneau Huppé”


This album crackles with an electricity that sounds like laughter, feels like euphoria and lights up the room with a jolt of beauty.  Le Vanneau Huppé is so full of life it barely is able to contain itself, as if it were a heart too full of joy to keep it all in.  Thankfully, Collectif SPATULE doesn’t even bother trying.

But it’s not just about the album’s emotive qualities.  There’s also the complexity at its foundation and the friendly embrace it has waiting for anyone who steps up to listen.  The way “Fabulous” opens the album with the relentless cries of saxophone as harp, acoustic guitar and chimes fall gently like raindrops between the lightning strikes.

Sometimes voices enter as harmonies and sometimes with lyrics.  On “Cimes,” it’s both, and both to great effect.  There’s an addictive quality to the repetitive chatter from the percussion duo of Gabor Turi and Florian Chaigne, and the way Chloé Cailleton melts her words into their dialog is positively intoxicating.  This effect is amplified on “Âdhyâtma Murshida,” where a strong folkloric quality is the launching point for a series of melodic diversions.

The album is rich with diversity and the ensemble is able to exploit it for moments of stunning beauty and subtly evocative nuance.  The saxophones of Gweltaz Hervé make their presence known loud and clear, and there’s never a moment where they don’t give the space and time for Pascal Vandenbulcke to dart through on flute.  And the accent on strings with the harp, acoustic guitar, cello and double bass of Émilie Chevillard, Fabien Ewenczyk, Stéphane Oster and Rémi Allain are like a flowery full bloom of colors.

The sing-song “”Réminiscence” is arguably the best exhibit of how the ensemble is able to harness all of this complexity and detailing, and spin it into a pretty tune, easy to connect with and friendly as the morning sun.  Then again, the way the ensemble accomplishes the same feat with the extended jam “13 à table” to bring the album to a close might serve just as ably an example of the musicians in their best light.

This is one of the very best things I’ve heard all year.

Your album personnel:  Chloé Cailleton (voice), Pascal Vandenbulcke (flutes), Gweltaz Hervé (saxophones), Émilie Chevillard (chromatic harp), Fabien Ewenczyk (guitars), Stéphane Oster (cello), Rémi Allain (double bass), Gabor Turi (drums, percussion, voice) and Florian Chaigne (drums, percussion).

Released on Aloya Music.

Listen to more of the album at the artist’s Bandcamp page.

Music from Nantes, France.

Available at:  Bandcamp | Amazon