ceux qui l'ont fait
For the last 15+ years, Double Nelson has performed hundreds of gigs throughout Europe, taken part in the making of european sci-fi films and soundtracks, recorded five or six albums and managed to remain completely unknown on this side of the pond. (perhaps even over there?)
I first ran across them in '97 at the student radio station where I was supposed to review their Le Grand Cornet CD for the airwaves. I am not sure what happened but the CD never went back to the studio. I probably thought it was too bizarre to get any airplay so I pocketed it. The promo sticker on the front still proclaims their blurb:
The experience of listening to this album will fall somewhere between a happy stroll through the park in June and a sleepover at the local abandoned broiler room. This CD reels between the pleasant and the disturbed with a mesmerizing grace. Electronic elements combined with analog noises and eerie french vocals are at times reminiscent of Tortoise, Seefeel, and even Einsturzende Neubauten.
Its not a bad description, certainly some Tortoise, definitely a little early Too Pure-ness and some industrious Neubauten- but they do not sound anything like any of them. Add in some Krautrock. Maybe that's why I never reviewed it, their sound was too confounding. Almost their entire website has been translated into english, which is good because there is not much information available anywhere else, especially in a language that I can understand. Here is the best review I could find after looking for way too long:
The sonic equivalent of the cross-section of a sculpture done entirely in raw meat, dripping, oozing, slimy with congealed fat and laced through with indigestible gristle, Double Nelson recalls the early '80s glory days of Ralph Records - early Yello collaborating with The Residents - dug up as a reanimated corpse.
Overstuffed, Peter-Principled basses, sometimes wobbling jazzward in a distinctively European manner, set off repeated racketing percussion patterns. The overall effect is occasionally reminiscent of post-Margaret Fiedler Moonshake, especially when accompanied by clattering vaguely horn-like samples and heavily processed guitars. "Le Prom'neur" is punctuated by dentists' drills and what sounds a lot like a grotesquely distorted, amplified rubber band. The vocalist mutters and grumbles in French throughout - because of the language, I've no clue what he's on about, but it probably isn't marshmallows and flowers.
The overall murk that characterizes Double Nelson is frequently cut with lugubriously distorted guitars, sounding as if they'd been recorded underwater and kept from collapsing into an indistinguishable mass by the structuring agent of repetition: while each track finds the bass and drums locking into patterns and seldom straying from them, this isn't dancefloor fodder. Not a pleasant record then - but equally innocent of both saccharine and posturing macho nine-inch angst.
Double Nelson - Begon (2003)
Double Nelson - Pece Blues (1999)
Double Nelson - Juan (1997)
Be sure to check out 21 more mp3s at their own website!