out Bleu’s second record, Otium, recalls a route where the electronic crosses paths with the acoustic. This new milestone in Genevan multi-instrumentalist Simone Aubert’s (Massicot, Hyperculte) musical field represents a kind of fruitful deceleration. Initially conceived as a solo project in 2018, the act is now an exploration ground for the musicians gathered on Otium : Naomi Mabanda on the cello (Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp, Chien Mon Ami) and Luciano Turella on the alto (Irtum Branda) encounter the sampling machines of POL, that could already be found on the first eponymous album Tout Bleu. In Tout Bleu’s music, the part-melodic, part-abrasive riffs reminiscent of Massicot are present, and so are the socially engaged, energetic singing of Hyperculte. However, the band, by using acoustic instruments, vocals and electric guitar in an unconventional way, draws an orchestral landscape that sometimes flirts with pop, and where strings merge in polyrythm on low tempo beats.

In Latin, otium suggests free time, detached from any contingency, a form of pure leisure, in the non-economic sense of the term, which is opposed to neg-otium, commerce. All Bleu claims this time of withdrawal, this productive, fertile and assumed idleness, which allows the group to unfold without hindrance its hypnotic and pulsating web, between krautrock trance and atmospheric no-wave. A sort of pre-rock spleen, Otium distils in nine tracks a dark, tense but soft music, nourished by hope. The arrangements exhale the warm or sharp essences of the strings, which carry the sometimes fragile and sometimes fearless voice of Simone Aubert. The lyrics are as much invocations to the rallying of the collective conscience as exutory cries pushed far into the forest. On Otium, Tout Bleu elaborates its pieces like Circe the magician distils and mixes drugs and poisons. A piercing reflection of our decayed time, Otium appears as a pain and its remedy at the same time.

Released December 10, 2021 on Bongo Joe

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