Trio SR9: Deja Vu album review – stripped down contemporary pop covers

The French have a thing for high-concept cover albums: Nouvelle Vague is a band that plays on the different meanings of the phrase “Nouvelle Vague” across cultures – from 1960s French cinema to Brazilian bossa nova and to the more pop end of British post-punk. — to recast songs from later eras as if they belonged to earlier ones. Trio SR9 also features a new take on a familiar songbook on their latest album, Déjà vu. This time the music is mostly from the last decade and the style is minimal.

The three musicians, Paul Changarnier, Nicolas Cousin and Alexandre Esperet, are all trained percussionists, specializing in the marimba. Their first two albums consisted of arrangements of the classical repertoire, from Bach and Baroque to Ravel, Satie and other Impressionists. For their debut with No Format, the trio teamed up with Clément Ducol, an alumnus of the National Conservatory of Lyon, who brought contemporary pop hits back to their essential rhythms and arranged them for the group.

Cameroonian singer Blick Bassy has done his best work for No Format, questioning the hidden secrets of his family, his country and the history of his continent. Here, he opens the album with a bassa-language version of Ariana Grande’s “One Last Time,” mostly sung a cappella over lesser angular wooden reverbs, and later mumbles through a thick, dark, swinging version. hard from “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish. ”. Bassy’s Cameroonian compatriot Sandra Nkaké lends a warm and moving richness to Sia’s “Chandelier”, chanting the numbers in the bridge in the manner of Philip Glass. Einstein on the beachand closes the album with a slow, papery account of Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games” against a glass harmonica.

Malik Djoudi, formerly of underground bands Moon Pallas and Kim Tim, contributes a lush version of Frank Ocean’s “Super Rich Kids,” with a hard-hitting marimba echoing Elton John’s influence on the original then extended vibraphone passages complex that make it sound like a lost sound. Classic by Steely Dan.

Franco-Algerian singer Camélia Jordana sings Rosalia’s “Malamente” over a pulsating beat and later deconstructs Tones & I’s “Dance Monkey” (Australian singer Toni Watson) into a whispered voice somewhere between a prayer and an invocation, with panting pulsations and the slightest twitch of percussion. Camille, an endlessly inventive art-pop heroine, former student of Nouvelle Vague and also Ducol’s companion, turns Rihanna’s “Don’t Stop the Music” into a shiny and hollow waltz, then delivers an impeccable reading of “Happy”. from Pharrell, barely there apart from handclaps and catchy vocals.

★★★☆☆

Déjà vu‘ is edited by No Format

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