Review: Johann Mazé – Deux Soleils Pour Foncer (Cocktail Pueblo, Dec 17)

On Deux Soleils Pour Foncer, French percussionist Johann Mazé conjures up metallic, rhythmic sound worlds with a variety of materials. “Trois Départs Loin d’Imli” is heavily based on steady but complex rhythms played on metal objects and bass tom. There’s palpable energy behind every hit, and the beats almost approach a level of aggression comparable to industrial music, but they’re also restrained enough to a point where other elements can coexist in the galloping maelstrom. The end of the piece introduces a vocal motif—presumably performed by Mazé himself through a megaphone—that matches the percussion in its frantic stuttering, creating almost unbearable tension that is only released when the piece ends. This tension-building is the strongest point of Deux Soleils Pour Foncer, with Mazé demonstrating his ability to sculpt several sound sources together in a chaotic mixture that can barely sustain itself. It’s arguably even more apparent on the second track, “Je Contiens Des Multitudes,” which, despite starting much less conspicuously with some quiet rattles and rustles, escalates to a frenetic climax with accelerating bass hits and metallic cacophony. I’m reminded of that video of the washing machine with a brick placed inside that tears itself apart. Amazing.