Review: EVA – DEMO (self-released, Nov 10)

I don’t ever feel like I need to understand or know how to speak a language to consume a piece of music that heavily relies on it. This is something unique about the medium that isn’t shared by literature, which is nearly impossible to process in any meaningful way if one doesn’t understand the dialect in which the text is written, or film, for even movies whose dialogue is of little consequence to the overall work are still watched with subtitles by those unfamiliar with the actors’ tongue. Sure, there’s a limit somewhere—everything depends on the specific situation, but I probably wouldn’t listen to an entire spoken word record in Arabic, and I also am hesitant when it comes to hip-hop with rapping in a language I can’t comprehend—but for the most part, there’s always something more to latch onto than the actual meaning of the words, even if it’s purely just the sound of them. Of all of the shining facets of the international lyrical Rosetta Stone that have fallen short of fully reaching my blockhead-American brain, French is probably my favorite; I’ve always found that there’s a level of verbal artistic expression that can be achieved with the Language of Love that is unmatched, at least by English (a low bar, I know). I embark on this lengthy diatribe to introduce a curious new release from Paris-based ensemble EVA, whose six-track album DEMO is seemingly their declaration of existence. Both Antoine Sarrazin and Yuriy Zavalknouk fill the role of récitant, ranting winding tangents and rambles over a fluid mess of erratic object-percussion, growling guitar yanks, and an assortment of other noises that contribute to the wonderful tumble. I’m not sure whether the two readers are reciting their own work or excerpts from others’, though I suppose I need not think too hard about it (the American Way). DEMO is at times serene (“Mais combien de cesar”), at others quirky and active (“Criez !,” “On ne me tuera pas”), and finally, with closer “Dans la source de tes yeux,” formidably abstract, as piercing circuit squeals and digital pinches like CRTs being turned on and off form the sprinkled garnish atop this delicious release.