Review 2220 : Maudits – Précipice – English

Maudits takes a step back to make a leap forward.

In 2024, the instrumental Post-Metal trio formed by Olivier Dubuc (guitar), Erwan Lombard (bass) and Christophe Hiegel (drums/samples), accompanied by Raphael Verguin (cello, In Cauda Venenum, Psygnosis), Emmanuel Rousseau (piano, mellotron, minimoog, keyboards) and Nicolas Zivkovich (rhodes/keyboards) unveil Précipice, their second album, on Source Atone Records.

Précipice Part I immediately brings us face to face with emptiness, where even dissonance is lost in nothingness, while welcoming Prog patterns and more modern elements that respond to the heady harmonics before letting the saturation set the rhythm on fire to make it far more motivating. The sound passes through a highly melancholic phase before fading into fury and finally returning to more ethereal tones to sail through to Seizure, where the atmosphere darkens to lock us in this straitjacket of darkness thanks to more complex sonorities, which fade out to make way for surprising Hip-Hop influences. The strings pick up again, bewitching us once more before returning to saturation and gradually abandoning us to the intriguing Pretium Doloris, an anguished two-minute interlude that explores a simple soundscape before joining Séquelles for three minutes of sonic cavalcade where dissonance and jerky riffs intermingle. Précipice Part II takes the adventure a step further, letting us admire an initially luminous and simple sound that transforms thanks to convoluted and more restless patterns, to which are added those fascinating misty touches that make the whole more intoxicating. The composition’s climax is reached on the final, where blast and heaviness meet before giving way to Lights End, where the soothing gentleness is revealed again in the first part, then the sound accelerates, becoming almost unsettling, before finally joining Vielä Siellä, where the atmosphere grows little by little, imperceptibly enclosing us in its veil of oppression before finally exploding and forcing us to shake our skulls one last time. If you stay long enough, the band will offer you one last glimmer of light, a ghostly track where a sampled voice mingles with a few haunting notes before sinking into nothingness.

The world of Maudits speaks for itself, leaving the instruments to develop a fascinating, gripping haze of sound, making Précipice a veritable bottomless pit in which we love to wander, and with which the band intends to haunt us.


Version Française ?

A few questions to Olivier Dubuc, guitarist of the band Maudits, for the release of their new album Précipice.

Hello, and thank you for your time! How could you possibly introduce the band Maudits without using the usual labels for musical styles such as « Progressive » or « Post-Metal »?
Olivier Dubuc (guitars and effects): Hello! It’s a pleasure! I’d say we do cinematic Rock/Metal 😉 We don’t pretend to write film soundtracks, but without really realizing it, we construct our songs as such, using regularly recurring melodic themes as reference points, in songs that are often quite long and have « drawers »…. What’s more, our love of string arrangements, abundant on Précipice, supports the cinematic aspect of our music. 

How do you personally relate the name Maudits to the band’s music?
Olivier: Well, the name has a very personal meaning, because the project was born at a complicated time in my life, when I felt that no matter what I did, there was always something stopping me from moving forward… It’s like a momentary jinx that sticks to you. It was when I was coming up with the 1st riff of the song that opens our 1st album that the title naturally came to mind. I suggested it to the others as the title of the song first of all, which was immediately approved, and I think Chris our drummer said it would be a perfect band name. We just added the s and it was a no-brainer for us.

Précipice, your second album, is about to be released. How do you feel about it? Have you had any feedback on it yet?
Olivier: I feel very confident about the quality of what we’ve produced. I have no control over what people will think of it, but personally it’s the best thing I’ve produced in my life. And having talked about it at length between us, I know it’s the same for my sidekicks Chris and Erwan. We put everything we had into it, and that’s already a huge satisfaction for us. We haven’t had much feedback so far, because at the time of writing, promotion has only just begun and the album won’t be out for another 15 days. We’ve only had a few friends and family listen to the album, and they’ve loved it. But are they objective? Probably not all of them hahaha.

How would you sum up Précipice in three words?
Olivier: Clear, obscure and sinuous.

The word « precipice » (« precipice » in French, ed.) seems relatively dark to me, like a kind of inexorable and frightening finality. Why did you choose this name for the album? What were your sources of inspiration for Précipice?
Olivier: As with the name of the project, the title seemed obvious to us. This perpetual balance between light and darkness, the constant threat that everything we build can collapse at any moment, due to a bad decision or chance. It’s the impermanence and unpredictability of life, whatever our religion, social condition or gender. Naturally, we’re all on the edge of a precipice from the moment we’re born… This isn’t defeatism, but reality… You can be rich, handsome and known the world over, but still get hit by a car one morning as you leave home, or develop an illness that will strike you down in 15 days. So the source of inspiration is just life, with its ups and downs… But don’t worry, I’m actually a very happy person 🙂 

This album comes four years after its predecessor, with two EPs along the way. Have you noticed any changes from the band’s previous releases?
Olivier: 4 years may seem a long time, and initially this album should have been released much earlier… But as we all know, the two waves of covid came and went, naturally pushing bands to rethink their plans. However, we haven’t been idle: 1 year after the release of the eponymous album, we decided to release a long EP (almost the length of an album) Angle Mort, made up of tracks from the 1st album completely reworked and 2 new songs composed for the occasion. The latter is very important in more ways than one, as it marks the arrival of Erwan on bass and the first collaboration with Raphaël Verguin on cello. Then we were finally able to play our first concerts, followed by the split album with SaaR… To be precise, the composition of Précipice began as early as the 1st confinement, from which the tracks Précipice part I, Précipice part II, Pretium Doloris and Séquelles were born. Subsequently, Seizure, Viella siellä and Lights End were written as we went along… The latter had been composed very shortly before the recording of the album. So, to answer your original question, the changes I’ve observed compared with other productions are the result of the songs having matured over a longer period of time… the musical material therefore seems to me to be richer and more sophisticated, and we’ve certainly paid a lot more attention to detail.

The first track to be unveiled is Précipice Part I. Why did you choose this one rather than another? Does the order of the tracks have any bearing on the tracklist?
Olivier: Précipice Part 1 seemed a good choice for the first single, as it contains all the ingredients that make up our music: a long, dark Trip Hop intro with an Electro edge, a rather Metal verse, an Atmospheric Doom bridge with hints of Dub rhythm, and a film-music final dominated by strings. The kind of progressive drawer structure we love to develop! And yes, the order of the tracks is always of paramount importance in our way of composing and thinking about albums. For us, a song poorly placed in a tracklist can lose much of its impact and even its interest. We create music the way we listen to it, as a global work to be appreciated as a whole.

On this album, you welcome three guests: Raphael Verguin, Emmanuel Rousseau and Nicolas Zivkovich. How did your collaboration go?
Olivier: Emmanuel Rousseau is a long-standing collaborator and friend, with whom we’ve worked since the early days of Maudits (and even before that, as far as I’m concerned). I’ve done almost all my guitar work in his studio since the 1st album, and he takes care of a large part of the pianos and keyboards, as well as certain string arrangements. So he’s a very close collaborator, not a guest. The same goes for Raphaël Verguin since the Angle Mort EP. These cello arrangements are now an integral part of our sound, and have never been more present than on Précipice. The only one we can consider as a guest is Nicolas Zivkovich, who is my colleague in Zëlot (a Black Metal project formed just after the 1st lockdown), who already appeared on Angle Mort, and to whom I asked for some Rhodes/keyboards arrangements in the middle of Seizure.

I know it’s a tough question, but do you have a favorite track on this album? Or the one that seemed the most natural to compose?
Olivier: To me, all the tracks on this album are equally important, and all contribute in their own way to the work we had in mind… But on a personal level, Précipice Part II is certainly the best material I’ve produced since I started trying my hand at composition. For me, this 14-minute-plus piece is a musical fresco with everything that appeals to me in the broadest sense. The styles (Ambient, Progressive Rock, Doom Stoner, Trip Hop/Dub/Post Rock/Black Metal/film music) collide seamlessly to create a coherent, lively whole. This was probably the most difficult album to complete, but it’s a huge personal and collective satisfaction to have reached the end. And the « easiest », or at any rate the quickest to compose, was probably Lights End, which came a little late in the day and whose original ideas I hardly touched up 😉

Précipice is released on Source Atone Records, a label you’ve been working with for some time now, how is the collaboration going? What about your partnership with Agence Singularités on the promotional side?
Olivier: Things are going very well with Source Atone. This is our first real album with them, because the previous one was a split with SaaR, and this type of format is quite particular to work on. It acted as a « test » that proved conclusive for us. So we entrusted them with our new big baby 😉 I had known Krys and Arnaud for some time before working with them. We’re from the same generation and have a lot of musical tastes in common, and I enjoy almost all Source Atone releases 😉 In any case, for the moment communication is clear and we’re moving in the same direction, so it’s all good for us. And I don’t hesitate to pester them in the middle of the night about anything and everything hahaha. As for Singularités, it’s a bit the same thing except that I didn’t know them before! The Précipice promo has only just started, but I can say that communication is flowing and the work is serious! This bodes well for the future 😉

I personally haven’t had the chance to see you live yet, how do you feel about a Maudits live show? Do you think the band’s visual approach enhances the performance?
Olivier: For me, a live show is the culmination of a long process of musical creation. It’s both liberating and extremely destabilizing, even stressful. Liberating because it’s a crazy adrenalin rush to play your own music in front of an audience, whoever they may be. And the acoustic pressure on stage, with the bass/drums thumping in support of their own instrument, is quite exhilarating! Destabilizing and stressful because we make quite complex music, and we don’t think for a second about live performance when we’re creating it. There are lots of textures, layers of instruments, rhythmic breaks and unconventional structures… So we had to set up a special configuration in which everyone has an important role to play, in order to reproduce with 3 people what should be played by 6 or 7… For example, I play with a lot of effects and a looper, allowing me to superimpose the layers of guitars I record live… there’s nothing sampled, everything is played. The same goes for our drummer Chris, who plays the Electro parts with a pad integrated into his drum kit. The only elements sampled are the violin arrangements, for an obvious logistical reason impossible to manage live at our level. As for the visual approach, it’s an evolving one. Depending on the size of the venue, and the possibilities at the time, we sometimes call on the services of an excellent lighting engineer, Matt Damole, who works superbly well. Otherwise, I’d say that the more we play, the more we improve our stage presence and movements, and it gets better and better.

You’ll soon be touring France with Parlor (and local openers) for the Précipice Tour 2024. How are you preparing for this escapade? Are there any other projects in the pipeline?
Olivier: We’ve put together this mini-tour ourselves, which is quite a lot of work. But it’s looking good! Initially we were going to do it with SaaR, but they unfortunately split up in the meantime. So the choice of Parlor (with Boris and Yann ex-SaaR) came naturally! They play a very different style to us, in a more post-hardcore vein, with screamed vocals, but they’ve got a hell of a lot of energy on stage, which makes for a varied and interesting line-up. There will also be two dates with our friends from Lille, Nord (with whom we recently collaborated on a video), two more with the excellent Belgians from Down to Dust (Antwerp and Kortrijk), and one with Karlich (Rouen)! It’s quite a logistical task to travel with two bands + a sound engineer, but we’re ready and I think we’re going to have a lot of fun! We’ve already got a few projects in mind, but for the time being we’re going to prioritize gigs, so as to promote our new baby as much as possible! The rest will come in due course 😉

Are there any musicians or artists you’d like to collaborate with in the future?
Olivier: That’s one of the projects in question hehe! But until it’s been confirmed and acted upon, I’d rather not name names 😉

Do you think you’ve improved as a musician with this album?
Olivier: On a personal level, this album represents the culmination of a lifetime’s passion for creating music. I’m proud of everything I’ve done since I started out, but I sincerely consider Précipice to be the best thing I’ve ever been involved with. If I’ve progressed as a musician on this album, it’s certainly in the way I approach composing and arranging!

What bands do you dream of playing with? I’ll leave you to imagine your dream date with Maudits opening, and three other bands.
Olivier: I don’t have any particular dreams, because I’ve been lucky enough to open for bands I admired, and I’ve unfortunately been disappointed most of the time, as the artists in question turned out to be, in my opinion, obnoxious people stuffed with ego. But right now, from a strictly artistic point of view (because from now on I’ll leave it at that), here’s what my dream line-up would be (and I’ll even give you the order): Maudits, Opeth, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Portishead as headliners… Wouldn’t that be something? 😉 

Last question: what dish would you compare Maudits‘ music to?
Olivier: Paella! Why would you say that? Firstly, because I love it (my mother makes an incredible paella haha), and it’s a dish where there are lots of different ingredients and spices, a bit like our music in the end 😉

That was my last question, so thank you again for your availability, and last words are yours!
Olivier: Thank you very much for the interview, it was a pleasure 😉 We can’t wait to defend Précipice live!

Laisser un commentaire