Chef Menteur: III
I know, I know, never judge a book by its cover, but I couldn't help it. Hats off to Sunrise Ocean Bender, the label behind bringing together three Chef Menteur albums (East Of The Sun & West Of The Moon, Force Majeure and North Of Tomorrow & South Of Yesterday) and packaging them in an irresistibly beautiful three panel fold out digi-pack, adding stunning imagery and doing likewise on the three discs themselves. Of the three, East Of The Sun... is a rerelease of an earlier album, North Of Tomorrow... its previously unreleased sister album and Force... a reissue of a long sold out cassette only release.
Phew, the music has a lot to live up to here – and thankfully for the most part it does. Chef Menteur are a... well, what are they? Psych? Space Rock? Drone? Ambient? (the press release even mentions Kosmiche... what's that then...?) The answer, is yes to them all – at times, and no – in places. It makes for a hell of a ride and a big ask if you intend to savour all three discs in one sitting. Yet what holds it all together is this band's eye for detail and desire to shock and smash, pounce and trounce, seduce and cajole – all in equal measure, sometimes at the same time, yet never to the detriment of the goal, which is to hold the imagination. Of the three albums, North Of Tomorrow... is bullish and playful, more colour, melody and off the wallery employed, while Force Majeure can be the least expansive. However even when things are pulled in and made as small as CM know how, they are huge sprawling pieces with enormous scope and wide screened pinpoint focus.
Really, the approach here is as wide as it is minuscule, as broad as it is ambitious and as intricate as it captivating. However, as you'd expect with such a vast genre canvas, things are allowed sometimes to run too free, with sounds rumbling on for what seems a leaden eternity, before a disparate idea whisks every up into a dark froth again. However these over indulgences are rare and even then, it's hard not to admire the brazenness of what this act are all about. This is a band doing what they do because they love it and to hang with the consequences, however what makes Chef Menteur so clever, is that they manage to make you a believer in their ever stretching, ever reaching world. Yes, you do need patience to knock down walls which initially feel dauntingly high and impenetrably thick but once you do, they'll come a-tumbling to reveal everything from sun kissed vistas to dank, dark despair.
Never judge a CD by its cover, eh? That old adage remains correct even here, for even though Sunrise Ocean Bender have packaged this set beautifully, the real revelation comes once the discs start spinning.
East Of The Sun & West Of The Moon
2. Il obstrue ma vue de Vénus
4. Lozenge Club
5. The Forest
6. Oxen of the Sun
8. The Long Stand (part 2)
9. Ordo Templi Orientis
10. I Belong To This Plateau
11. Reach for the Lion
12. King Richard
North Of Tomorrow & South Of Yesterday
1. Ribbons from Lake Kwashiorkor
2. Farsifa Duo Raga
4. Terpsichore (long version)
5. Where Wings Take Dream
6. Pastronomy Pastranomi
7. One Fret Beyond
8. The Long Stand (parts I and II)
9. Lozenge Jazz Club
10. Sinks of Gandy
11. Phallus Marinarus
12. The Mamluk Qalandars
13. Don't Invite a Centaur to Your Wedding
14. Sorry for the Delay
15. Kenny G Goes to Guantanamo Bay
2. Pyrymyd Scheme
3. Death Wraith 2000
4. Surface Tension
5. Immense Dimension
Added: May 25th 2015
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Chef Menteur: III at Bandcamp
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