French trio Versari produce compelling, dark and gothic sonic landscapes that are elegant and cool. We reviewed their single ‘Plus de Tristesse’ last year from the album ‘Sous le peaux’, calling it gloriously imperious and statuesque and we are very honoured to premiere their new EP Brûle, which consists of an edited version of the track Brûle from the original album along with two remixes, and a remix of ‘Des Images’ (opening track from ‘Sous la peau’).
The radio edit ‘Brûle’ (a shortened version of the album version) has a throbbing insistent and ominous bass that thunders underneath the track with arctic razor sharp guitars creating scything sweeps across the sonic landscape. The vocals are cold, distant and enigmatic – launching into a vaulting chorus with layers of whispered, ghostly backing singing. It is elegant and bold, evoking the haunting spaces of a cathedral: atmospheric, chilling and transfixing. The track is cold, brutal and concise: an absorbing a stimulating capture of the original.
The ‘ElectroGenetic Remix’ by Gareth Jones (Depeche Mode, Einstürzende Neubauten, Wire, Erasure) electrifies – literally – the mix with synths bubbling and swooping, an arpeggiated base and the guitars retreating if not absconding. Vocals become robotic, Kraftwerkian. The overall effect is something more warmer: a filled canvas with brighter colours and movement. It really is quite a remarkable remix: creating a whole new different motorik ambiance.
This treatment is meted out to ‘Des Images’, the ‘Gadget’ remix by School Daze which surgically removes the fuzzy, dirty guitars and implants a robotic spine – heavy duty synth basses that create a formidable central nervous system and rapid shot blast of space invader sounds. The result is a metallic delight, relentless and driving inexorably to the sudden end.
The final “Doom’ remix of Brûle by Erica Nockalls (The Wonder Stuff) again subverts the entire song in a new and innovative way. The vocals become an incantation, something that recalls chanting monks in a dark brooding monastery, while the instrumentation takes on a liquid glass ambience: molten folds of music that bubble and flow.
It is for me rare that remixes can so cleverly deconstruct original recordings and create such a bright and illuminating x-ray on the skeleton of the song then building an entirely new covering flesh that delivers something so new and refreshing.
The band says of the EP and the remixes:
It has been a fantastic experience for us to have these tracks remixed, something that had never happened in the past. Gareth Jones, whom we love for his production and musical work, was contacted late at night during confinement. His positive answer boosted the troops, and listening to the result of this collaboration is bliss.
School Daze, a Parisian band, are often around the Versari Studio. Their punchy remix took us all by surprise.
Erica Nockalls (whom Jean-Charles Versari produced her forthcoming album) is an emerging producer, and notable musician (outside of her solo project she is part of The Wonder Stuff, and played with the Proclaimers, Tronos, The Mission, etc…). Her dark and deep interpretation of Brûle is mesmerizing.
This is a vital, vibrant and exciting EP. The radio edit of ‘Brûle’ provides a concentrated and distilled capture of an ethereal and gothic original, while the remixes tear off the skin and reinvent and reconstruct the tracks in the most surprising, innovative and revealing manner.
The ‘Brûle’ EP is available on 24 June 2021 through Declared Goods.
Feature Photograph: Renaud de Foville