Geneviéve Castrée used to record as BTW Woelv. Her new project Ô Paon is darker, more daring and elevated (almost sacred-seeming). The songs on Courses find loops (of guitar, organ, tuba, violin, etc.) and vocals repeating and overlapping endlessly. Castrée sings the lyrics in French, but offers translations, so I know she’s focusing on violence, alienation, pollution, bad omens, poverty, patron saints of nothing, human greed, and the downfalls of the often soulless present (“Allergic to tree bark, allergic to pollen, the highway is your only stroll. You mix up firs and pines”). It’s dark, welcoming some sort of apocalypse, but uplifting in it unsentimental approach and the ideas of self-possession, action, and the rejection of easy malaise threaded throughout. (In some ways it reminds me of what Dan Higgs has been up to lately.) A Silver Mt. Zion/Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s Thierry Amar recorded the nine-song collection in Montreal between October 2007 and January 2010. (It’s fitting they finished in the dead of winter.) Take a listen to the hypnotic opener “Le Dernier Mot” (“The Last Word”). Amar adds that steady bass to it, Jonah Fortune drums, and Sophie Trudeau violin. Castrée does the rest.
The words: “Imposing landscapes, great country crumbling. / Landscapes stolen from people who took care of them properly. / Herds of people made insecure lead by the nose of the rich and famous. / Silver spoons. / And you, you who will not budge in front of all those imbeciles, those hired killers. / Silver spoons. / I will dare to act disrespectfully towards all their flags, they mean nothing to me… / Fifty stars reflected upon the wet sand and of a beach where it’s cold.”
Courses is out 9/7 via Ô Paon. Castrée drew the cover art. The album’s highly recommended. It arrived to me in the mail unexpectedly, has been a great surprise.