Le Réveil Des Tropiques: S/T

Dat old lady…  Really need to get her out of the head there, please, for the love of God…  This one really makes you wonder what in the world you’re in for at first glance, coming in a bi-fold slipcase with two discs, an inner, distorted picture of some sort of resort on a beach, the track list with references to random cities with apparently no real significance, everything written in French on the back, and dat old lady.  She just keeps staring…  The record label it comes from, MusicFearSatan is apparently run by one mysterious dude who uses his headquarters as a record distribution center.  With a little research, one finds that the talented Frédéric D. Oberland has his hands on this, and for those of you who don’t know him yet, think of him as almost a French James Plotkin, and that should do it.  Had to do a bit of name-dropping to start this one, so learn to cope.  Le Réveil Des Tropiques is the kind of thing you don’t just pick up and say, “hey, it’s been a long time, let’s pop this one in”, just doesn’t happen.  You have to be thinking, thinking so deeply that you need something to keep your mind occupied so it doesn’t go into dark places or so dat old lady doesn’t creep into your head at the most inopportune of times, and you know exactly what we mean and we’ve doomed you for any future loving if that wasn’t clear enough initially.



Le Réveil Des Tropiques makes no attempt at being easily grasped in a single listen.  It will take a few for it to really play on you, especially with the song length and density.  The first track alone is almost fifteen minutes long, and you have nine total, a few of which go the damn distance like an eighteen-year-old at a twenty-one-and-up party, where they shouldn’t be might we add.  The combination of artists here is a variety of styles, including noise rock, kraut rock, and jazz, creating something of an experimental supergroup, as the term is usually presented.  In the past, we’ve come across many of these “supergroups”, and poopergroups would be a better estimation of all of them, apologies for the immaturity.  Thankfully, not here, and double thankfully this isn’t one of those ‘free sessions’ where the excuse for cutting the album was everyone sat down without boundaries and were told to do whatever they felt like, turning into a game of marbles where everyone shoots in opposite directions and the incessant clicking drives you insane.  Very rarely does such an experiment turn out well, because it’s the classic ‘hornet nest’ phenomenon we’ve mentioned in the past, it buzzes and gets itself together now and then, but the rest of the time it’s just fluttering there randomly.  Le Réveil Des Tropiques is instead experimental artistry, no improv.  Thank God.


There’s a ton of structure to go through here, much more than we are capable of detailing in this little review.  Some of the tracks are highly bass-driven with a tempo solidified primarily through sludgy bass notes, others are more atmospheric with electronic soundscapes.  There are several stellar grooves you’ll find herein, and passages of a more ruminating quality.  The entire idea is based on decaying cities, and according to Oberland dat old lady was a random polaroid taken on 9/11 at Coney Island, and is something of a symbolic picture of wasting away that the album intends to suggest via its music.  Thankfully, we didn’t have a clue about that before we actually asked, simply out of curiosity, and the album does in fact give one a sense of this decay, though man, dat old lady, really…  It would have been more fruitful if Coney Island in all its spacial dilapidation were shown in the background as well, so perhaps the interior is that locale, but you wouldn’t realize that at first.  Now, generally, Le Réveil Des Tropiques does a great job doing what it set out to do.  The only real problem with it is one, it requires a certain setting to enjoy it, and two, it’s daaaammmn long.  Two CDs or two LPs, depending on the format of your choice, this isn’t one you simply throw in the car when you’re taking a drive, even a long drive, unless it’s the entire distance across the United States.  If you’re not taking that trip specifically through areas that are falling to pieces, it might not have the same impact.  Some songs, because of its overall shape, are more engaging because of their natural push, especially those with the bass-heavy sections, so it’s an odd mix of thought and drive that may have been better separated on the two discs/records.  Regardless, a great show of musicianship in this one, and a welcome review.


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Written by Stanley Stepanic

Le Réveil Des Tropiques: S/T
4 / 5