Nearly as mysterious as the music that they release, since their launch in 2018, Les Giants has issued a slow and steady stream of incredible LPs, bridging the gap between historical and contemporary artefacts with ambitious gestures by artists like K. Leimer, Marco Bosco, Y Create, and Die Welttraumforscher. Working across a fairly expansive range of creative fields, the label’s output is bound by a palpable draw toward the visionary and the enigmatic; music that stands outside of the dominant streams, created by artists who feel little desire to limit themselves within normative definitions. Their latest, “La Non-pareille”, the debut LP by the Paris based duo Des édens, perfectly fits this bill. A genre defiant body of left-field compositions, spanning improvisational experimentalism, DIY electronic meanderings, and flirtations with song - propelled by a spirited desire to communicate openly through sound - it’s a deeply engaging and joyous immersion into raw creativity from the first rotation to the last.
While all of Les Giants’ releases have been imbued with the aura of mystery, Des édens’ “La Non-pareille” might be their most enigmatic yet. Very little is publicly known about the band, other than it’s the duo of Antoine Cortes and Pacôme Genty, two artists that hail from Paris. Back in 2020, they self-issued two beautiful digital only releases, before silence enveloped them for another two years. Antoine describes the origins of the project with fittingly poetic ambiguity: “Lava music, maybe. Lava music, always evolving, always surprising, always exciting because we don’t know what the other will bring to the music that we start improvising and exploring together. We’ll see what bubbles will form in this lava music and sometimes an idea comes up, a bubble pops and it becomes a track. Lava, like the wax that was melted to press the record. Lava, like energy flowing, slow.”
For the pair’s debut LP under the guise of Des édens, they set to work in quiet bedroom on the third floor of a building in the town of Pantin, not far from Paris and let the tape roll, improvising amongst a scatter of instruments, effects, speakers, and electronics machines. The outcome, “La Non-pareille” - created with only a handful of overdubs - simultaneously captures the atmosphere of the environment within which it was made, as well as the free spirit that brought its compositions into being; two musicians communing and collaborating through sound, creating something immediate, raw, unpretentious and direct.
At times reminiscent of '80s-bedroom DIY and others a lost sci-fi soundtrack that’s had too much to drink, the LP - the title for which was taken from a passage by Flaubert - intertwining elements of experimental electronics with meandering improvisations on acoustic instruments - reeds, guitar, percussion, keyboards, etc. - to create a joyously playful sense of creativity and honest expression at its humble best. Yet, as open and responsive as the project feels, there’s something deeply focused and considered with the album’s collision of sounds, with each composition working in unison to construct an arching sense of narrative, while doubling as a free-standing world, intent on formulating itself according to its own, internal set of terms.
Featuring wobbling melodies, shimmering ambiences, brooding electronics, and a great deal more, Des édens’ “La Non-pareille” is a fantastic debut that leaves you wanting for more and wondering what the duo of Antoine Cortes and Pacôme Genty have up their sleeves next. A fascinating counterpoint to similar approaches currently coming out of Gothenburg, Belgium, and Germany, there’s clearly something in the air. Issued by the always fantastic Les Giants in a very limited edition of 200 vinyl copies, it seems fair to expect that once the word gets out on this one it’s going to fly.