Domenique Dumont … sorry who? Parisian based Antinote Records has unearthed a gem of a mini LP, Comme Ça, for their 20th release, further cementing their reputation as a label to keep close tabs on. The material, an intoxicating mix of dub, synth–pop and electronic music, is as mystifying as the man who made it – little is known of Dumont apart from the fact he’s from Riga and this is his debut release.
Still, it’s fitting that anonymity surrounds Dumont. His music is otherworldly, a cliché perhaps, but fitting in this instance, as you tune in and turn off to a soundscape full of trippy samples, bizarre percussion and exquisite guitar. It’s also an extremely well timed release, landing just in time for summer, where this music feels like it was meant to perpetually exist. It breezes through the best part of half an hour without breaking a sweat, reminiscent of hot, languid days relaxing somewhere more exotic than our fair Isles.
The LP opens with the eponymous title track, which actually surfaced toward then end of last year, but slipped unassumingly below the radar. It’s atypical of Dumont’s production style, which is simple yet striking. Here French vocals, sung by the LP’s vocalist Mona Lesko, lead the track, but unlike most pop, they sit far back in the mix, allowing attention to be drawn to other elements. The synth lines and tropical percussion are given the attention they’re due, and it makes for a compelling listen, utilizing the pop’s infectiousness without becoming predictable or quickly tiresome. ‘L’esprit de l’escalier’ gives more of the same, this time using a guitar riff and vocal harmony to drive the track forward, before La basse et les shakers finishes off the A side sensationally. Colourful percussion is broken up with curious vocal samples and instrumentation, and unlike the previous two, this track feels crafted with the dancefloor in mind as its namesake suggests.
The B side then expands this range. Vocals are taken out of equation, allowing Dumont to further explore the cacophony of samples and synth oscillations at his disposable, all with a healthy dose of dub. On first listen, the side is less arresting, but as you delve deeper, there’s always novel sounds to be discovered sitting deep with the compositions, steadily making it my favoured side. Perhaps it’s this, the element of surprise nestled deep within the seeming calm, which keeps drawing me back to Comme Ça, despite my usual distaste for the elements of pop which it represents so tantalizingly.
Domenique Dumont’s Comme Ça is available to buy now via Antinote Records.