The Chapel of Exquises Ardents Pears is actually a combination of bands, The United Kingdom’s neo-classical project Stems, and France’s own Anathème. They first time met in France, had some drinks, made friends, and decided to make music together. And they locked themselves away in a studio for a weekend and hammered out four largely improvised tracks for their ‘TorqueMadra’ album.
RELEASE DATE: 20 May 2017 LABEL: Self-released
Being established bands before stepping into the studio together, the band members already have quite a bit of expertise under their belt, as shown by the textures chosen by the guitars and the lovely melodies picked by the violinist and cellist. ‘L’Eloge de la Folie’ is probably the best example of all of this. Both extremities of dynamics explored bravely, on either side of post-rock and neo-classical.
The ever-popular fusion of guitars and strings has been done before by bands both small and large. TCEAP have unified the two sounds expertly, mixing them appropriately even during the loudest passages. In fact, there isn’t a single moment where I wish something was louder or quieter. The moods in the album are highlighted by the mixing, the technical and the artistic going hand in hand.
Layering all of these instruments is quite a task, but they pull it off rather well. With so many people to contribute to the rising swell of sounds, it sometimes feels like it can take a bit too long to get to the ‘wall of sound’ portion of the track. However, the payoff is monumental. It’s a dense sound, smothering your ears with their instrumental orgy.
All in all, this short EP makes a sizeable impact with its sheer amount of passion, two bands combining to become one, marrying each other’s sounds to make something entirely new. They got 22 minutes of surprisingly polished music all figured out in one single weekend before they parted ways. They have a tendency to slink into your standard sort of post-rock structure, but I believe that’s not a bad thing to fall back on when you’re improvising with new friends, finding common ground. This is the honeymoon phase and I have every belief that their next release will be much more fleshed out and meticulous. If you enjoy MONO, Years of Rice and Salt, This Patch of Sky, Long Hallways and the likes, I suggest you get acquainted with these beautiful textures and lovely layerings before too long.
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