Force Majeure released!

Force Majeure (listen to a preview on Bandcamp) is finally here.

It’s the brand-new album from Chef Menteur, and it’s the follow-up to the epic double LP East of the Sun & West of the Moon… an album that many — including even some of us, perhaps — figured was to be the band’s swansong. New member Phil Rollins was recruited during live support of East/West, and continued to work with returning players Alec Vance, Dan Haugh and Brian Abbott to write these five new songs, the last of which is in three parts.

ForceMajeure-cassetteCover

Originally conceived as two singles, we decided to perfect the arrangement of these tunes as live performances so we could just walk (or crawl, in the case of one bass player) into the studio and play them.

In the past, Chef Menteur has always recorded and mixed our own material, so this is a first for us: Force Majeure was recorded live to analog tape in one day and mixed in another at the Living Room recording studio, an amazing space across the river in scenic Algiers, with talented engineers Chris George and Daniel Majorie behind the controls, letting us focus on the performance and not the recording.

The first edition of this album (released on Waypoint Tapes) is on cassette only for now, and can be bought from Aquarius Records in San Francisco and a few shops in NOLA.

ForceMajeureCass

Here’s what Aquarius had to say:

CHEF MENTEUR “Force Majeure” (Waypoint Tapes) cassette 4.50
A while back, we reviewed a gorgeous double lp from a New Orleans outfit called Chef Menteur, whose sound was a gorgeously blissed out psychedelic sprawl, all drugged out space rock and hazy shimmery drones, brooding psych-kraut and lush pastoral ambience. We sold a ton, and figured that maybe that just might have been it. But finally, here’s a cassette-only follow up, and right out of the gate, it’s another stunner. The opener is a hushed drift, all abstract Appalachia, wheezing harmonica, muted chordal thrum, sculpted feedback, like the prettiest Sunroof! track ever, a sort of spaced out raga, pulled apart into something even more ethereal and abstract, gorgeous and meditative and dreamlike. We figured that maybe the band had shifted their sound, and embraced their lighter, more ethereal side, but then in swoops the second track, with a rapid fire rhythmic melody, some almost funky bass, and some swirling electronics, quickly building into a sort of psych-funk that reminds us a lot of Swedish outfit Goat, which is definitely not a bad thing. As the song unwinds, the sound expands, adding more and more layers, extra instrumentation, eventually getting pretty dang heavy, with some swirling organ, building to a fierce finale.
“Death Wraith 2000” is a much darker and heavier beast, sounding like something on Cardinal Fuzz, murky riffage, swirling psychedelia, pounding drums, the sound shifting from dark and tribal, to wild and noisy and seriously freaked out. The rest of the tape finishes off two more heavy psych groovers, the first a lush, slow building Godspeed style space rocker, with gorgeous long stretches of moody minimalism, between the more in-the-red bombast, while the second and final track, brings the organ back in, things get droned out and trancey, a little bit noisy, a sort of garage prog that eventually mutates into a gorgeous stretch of soft noise, before one final blast of psychedelic space rock crush…

And if you’ve read this far, and are excited about the album but cassette isn’t your format, we have more good news: Force Majeure will be available later this year as part of a 3-CD retrospective and unreleased tracks set to be released by new psych label, Sunrise Ocean Bender.

On Bandcamp.

Our last album, East of the Sun & West of the Moon, is now streamable through Bandcamp, as are our first two outings, We Await Silent Tristero’s Empire, and The Answer’s In Forgetting.

You can also stream the albums directly on our site, over there in the right-hand sidebar.

Stay tuned for news about the brand new album (still unreleased right now) called “Force Majeure”) with 4 tracks we recorded at the Living Room with Chris George and Daniel Majorie.

 

Audio Interview with Alex Rawls of My Spilt Milk

For his new review site My Spilt Milk, music writer Alex Rawls conducted an audio interview with Alec, and also wrote a nice intro to our new album:

Descriptions of the music sound brainy and theoretical, but East of the Sun & West of the Moon is all about the physical joy of making a cool, distorted rock ‘n’ roll sound, and continuing to make it until there’s a compelling reason to do something differently. That Chef Menteur does it with a sense of balance and beauty and drama is a bonus. It’s one of the most exciting albums to come out of New Orleans this year and needs more people to hear it.

“East of the Sun…” now at Aquarius

Aquarius Records logoAquarius Records is a groovy little record shop in the Mission district of San Francisco that’s been churning along since 1970, and has since become an essential mail-order spot for psych, metal, drone, experimental and other related formats. One reason is their excellent newsletter. We’re big fans, and a good deal of our favorite LPs have come from their weekly recommendations list.

This week your favorite unheralded New Orleans psych group gets a bit of love, and we’re happy to share it with you. Read it, then go on over to AQ’s web site and order your copy of East of the Sun & West of the Moon. (Just enter “Chef Menteur” as the artist search term at the top.) ]

Here’s the write-up:

 CHEF MENTEUR    East Of The Sun & West Of The Moon    (Backporch Revolution)    2lp    24.00

This is the first we’ve heard from this New Orleans psychedelic combo, even though this is their third record, but it’s as good a place to start as any, cuz it’s hard to imagine any of the other records competing with the sheer sonic scope of East Of The Sun & West Of The Moon, a sprawling double lp (which was supposedly trimmed down from a QUINTUPLE lp!!), literally years in the making, which finds the band touching on all sorts of different sounds, but all the various sonic strains held together by a thread of cosmic psychedelia that runs through the whole record.

The opener, “Narconaut”, should have space rock nerds losing their shit, totally druggy and drifty, the bass and drums locked tight into a loping groove, while the guitars fill the sky with wild tangles of FX heavy swirls and squiggles, clouds of swirling psychedelia, that drifts from heady and ethereal to churning and heavy. The record unwinds gradually, the second track, a smoldering bit of mathiness, rife with twang, and spidery minor key melodies, and laced with a bit of Appalachia, but building to a serious heavy crescendo before slipping into a brief bit of country, only to return to the mathiness of the opening few minutes. From there the band drift into weird woozy horn driven slowburn balladry, a washed out blues, wreathed in loads of echo and reverb, giving it a serious dub vibe, only to then slip into a brief bit of rhythmic churn, which quickly transitions into some drum driven, almost IDM sounding electronica, but that electronica is wedded to the band’s brooding drifting psychedelia, there’s even some sampled voices, which gives it a definite Boards Of Canada feel.

“Oxen Of The Sun” is one of the record’s two centerpieces, an 11+ minute jam that flits from sound to sound, beginning as a dense chunk of buzzing space rock, driven by low slung bass and wheezing organs, it soon gives way to a sort of blurred countryish drone/drift, which in turn becomes a haunting elegy of organ drone, before exploding into some seriously heavy super distorted psychrock, that itself shifts from dense driving pound, to spaced out abstract shuffle and back again. “Ganymede” is the other one, clocking in at more than 19 minutes, this one less all over the map, a lush organ/synth/keyboard dronescape, softly roiling, spacious and kosmische, gradually building to the occasional Sunroof! like ur-drone, only to slip right back into something much more serene and pastoral. It’s a fantastically heady chunk of droned out psych bliss for sure.

The rest of the record continues the group’s sonic explorations, more heavy psych space outs, bits of droned out minimal guitarscapery, woozy, slide guitar laced twang flecked drifts, pocked with slow build to explosive psychedelic squalls, dark strummed folk that gives way to some seriously dense and druggy psychedelia, and a final bit of spare steel string guitar, a little coda, surprisingly spare, considering how dense and sprawling and ambitious the rest of the record is.

WAY recommended, and pretty much essential listening for all you psychedelic space phreaks out there,

LIMITED TO 200 COPIES. Super elaborately packaged, in deluxe gatefold jackets, each one printed and hand numbered by the artist, the art a handmade woodblock print, includes a digital download.

Artist’s prints of album design now available

Anyone who has admired the immaculate woodblock hand printing of the new LPs will be interested to know that the artist, Thomas Peri, has made a very limited number (<10) of standalone prints of the cover art available. These are each printed by hand from the same woodblocks used in printing the album jackets on high quality paper suitable for framing.
You can order from him directly on his Etsy page.

Early reviews coming in…

Some nice things are being said about the new album:

“…like lying in a sunshiny meadow full of flowers while a gentle breeze ruffles the pages of your calculus textbook. ” –The Times-Picayune

“Psychedelic fans are in for a bliss-out with this one–there are some epic-length numbers on here, as well as shorter bursts of goodness… Dig in anywhere and prepare to be impressed.” –KFJC
There are less than 100 copies left of the album! Here is where you can get yours.

Happy Album Release Day! New album streaming for 24 hours.

East of the Sun & West of the Moon double LP
East of the Sun & West of the Moon double LP

If you can’t make it to New Orleans tonight for our album release party, don’t fret. You can still take part from a distance.

For 24 hours today, Radio Backporch Revolution is streaming the new album. Listen to the stream directly at http://206.225.86.11:8000/listen or via the Radio Backporch Revolution iPhone app.

If you can make it to the show, you can pick up your copy of the album there. But if you can’t, you can now order the album (vinyl or digital mp3) or get your vinyl directly from Backporch Revolution.

More places to get the album via mailorder or iTunes, etc….

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