SELIM LEMOUCHI & HIS ENEMIES
The Devil’s Blood has passed on. They are no more. They have ceased to be. They have expired and gone to meet their maker. They are an ex-parrot. Kicked the bucket, shuffled off this mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible. And no amount of shouting will bring them back. But never fear (if at all you were afraid, poor baby), the spirit that occupied that ephemeral collective has, like a phoenix, risen from the ashes of that evil empire in the form of Selim Lemouchi & His Enemies. Accompanied by “a never stagnant group of colleagues, friends and artists”, the new project from The Devil’s Blood founder/mainman is an eclectic ensemble that while it does bear some similarities to his former band, it’s the freedom to unbound by the shackles that being a band brings with it that is the wind beneath this beast’s wings (no, Bette Midler doesn’t make a guest appearance, thankfully).
Mostly instrumental, Lemouchi and his foes kick out the psychedelic jams across three tracks that explore a range of textures, structures and dynamics as they can cram into these thirty-ish minutes. At almost nine minutes, with the spirit of Hendrix permeating this late-night, low-light track, ‘Eschaton’ oozes the blues, Lemouchi’s softly reverberating guitar weeping its way through the gently hypnotic pulses and rhythms provided by the simple yet persistent bass and drum patterns. ‘Thistle’ takes the free approach much further, the more expansive soundscape that the band conjure up giving them a seemingly limitless canvas upon which to experiment with light, shade, colour and tone. As mellow as a sunset on mushrooms, the lyrics and vocals are the stuff of a space-rock spiritual preacher, Lemouchi a passenger on the Chariots of the Gods. And by way of contrast, the fourteen minute jam that is ‘Your Way Down’ brings together the dream-like visions and nightmarish trips of every LSD-soaked nightclub in a wash of reverberating wah-wah guitar, crashing cymbals, mesmerising beats, and kaleidoscopic textures spiralling ever higher into interstellar overdrive.
With the occult aspect gone – or perhaps refashioned as good ol’ freeform improvisation – Selim Lemouchi has cast off the fetters of The Devil’s Blood’s ideology and has given his music the freedom it desires. Though there’s some excellent playing on display here and the EP is as diverse as it is deep, it can sometimes feel as if it’s unfinished, as if these are the penultimate draft. But, of course, to render such pieces “complete” would kill them and, devoid of life, live performances by Lemouchi and co. would be no better than a mere recital. This way, Lemouchi and whatever ensemble he chooses to work with can breathe new life into every performance and so make them unique – for band and audience. With a 5-track LP on the horizon, it’ll be interesting to see where Lemouchi takes this intriguing project, and indeed if he can escape the achievement and acclaim of his previous success and find true freedom in musical expression.
MENS ANIMUS CORPUS
Review by Jason Guest
4th July 2013
3) Your Way Down
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"With the occult aspect gone – or perhaps refashioned as good ol’ freeform improvisation – Selim Lemouchi has cast off the fetters of The Devil’s Blood’s ideology and has given his music the freedom it desires."