Dale Cooper Quartet & The Dictaphones* ‎– Quatorze Pièces De Menace



Brosme En Dos-vert
Nourrain Quinquet
Calbombe Camoufle Fretin
Oribus Sustente Lingue
L'escolier Serpent Éolipile
La Ventrée Rat de Cave
Il Bamboche Empereurs
Céladon Bafre
Ignescence Black-bass Recule
Mange Tanche
Lampyre Bonne Chère



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June 25, 2019
referencing Quatorze Pièces De Menace, 2xLP, Album, Ltd, RE, Red, DEN178

Once upon a time, an Italian sulfur merchant’s son didn’t join his father’s business and instead became a writer with a Ph.D. in Linguistics. One of his plays, staged in 1921 to a rioting audience in Rome, ascended to the status of a revolutionary contribution, and landed the author, a Nobel Prize in 1934. In Luigi Pirandello’s Sei personaggi in cerca d'autore (Six Characters in Search of an Author) people barge into a rehearsal and claim that they are actually characters created by an author who failed to complete them. They demand an author that could finish their stories. The characters also blur the line between the real and the unreal, as they imply that they are as real as the actors whose rehearsal they interrupted. After multiple listening and mixing experiences, it increasingly seems to me that in technique and spirit “Quatorze Pièces De Menace” by DC4tet is analogous to the main creative insights of Pirandello's “Six characters.”

Try to translate the title and Google translation suggests, “Fourteen threat coins,” or other translation algorithms suggest, “Fourteen Rooms of Threat.” The truth is elusive from the beginning, thus providing a sense of incompleteness, but simultaneously opening up areas of creative interpretation commensurate to the true meaning. So I might suggest, “Fourteen Rooms of Menace (in Search of Characters)” “Fourteen Pieces of Dread (in Search of a Film.)” To complicate matters further there are 11 full-length tracks with almost imperceptible short silences separating them. Could this be then “Eleven songs in search of a movie?” as an honest reviewer I must confess that I failed to find the meaning of the song titles.

The collective’s self-declared affinity to Angelo Badalamenti and Bohren Club der Gore permeates the general structures of the house it builds. This general sonic layout also mixes well with Birds of Passage, Max Richter and, believe it or not, the dreamy Nick Drake. But then the eleven rooms are creatively imagined with all their mystery, majesty, meekness, pathos, secrets, and revelations. The rooms open up into secret chambers, or perhaps an entryway vanishes suddenly questioning the nature of entry and exit. This creative bent is evident at the beginning of the album that starts bold and loud with a swell of orchestral fuzz, hovering within an F major/A minor territory, getting ever so brighter and impatient to get somewhere. Then it suddenly cuts off mid-sentence, and drops into a long exciting journey (A side), replete with gentle voices of throat singing monks, gloomy landscapes of rumbling-delicious bass, sound of a metal clashing, paradoxically abrasive and tender sax/trumpet, brilliant distortions, winds of synths, and sunlight that fall from guitars or mischievously fleeting high pitched flutes. The great journey juxtaposes tenderness of things in the dread that we call the future of the planet. It also shows me how music gives us, for now, some rooms to stay in, and how music and noise are questionable dichotomies, just as characters and actors were in Pirandello's play.

The rooms that slowly reveal themselves over the length of this mansion searches their inhabitants, or the inhabitants search rooms to find themselves, with cryptic suggestions like “slow is the maker,” as the start of B side tell us. The mood here is somber and ruminative as if darkness reflects on and off the window panes as a full moon plays with its rain clouds. It could be a dream sequence in a Luis Bunuel or Satyajit Ray film. The sound of wind instruments (trumpet and sax) breathe and vanish away like wisps of smoke from a burnt out fireplace where forbidden letters turn to ash.

The surreal voices of Alicia Merz feature briefly and via a slow yet resolute drum line we enter into a secret chamber of loud and sometimes almost inaudible dimensions of sound. And I can’t wait to get lost in the rest of the house or inhabit it as a ghost,

This collection of songs is for people who love cinematography, mystery, and large windows with old houses attached to them. It is for people who notice pale yellow flowers in the crevices of concrete. It is for people who hear sounds of breathing even in the loudest conditions. This creative work is not an album; it’s a house in search of its musical inhabitants, you, the listener and filmmaker.

Finally, it will not be polite if I don’t give a special shout out to QueitCalm records who meticulously curates and dissipates excellent pathbreaking music and Denovali’s flawless reissue. Thanks so much for getting this work of art to me.