“ Lou étendue ” (2004)

Front / Artwork

Karaoke Kalk (Germany)
Purchase CD/LP


Music & Lyrics by Toog
Produced by Toog and Digiki (Antonin Gaultier)
with Asia & Anna Lou Argento (track 2, 6, 10)

Toog's third album is actually both a collaboration and an inspired idea brought to life -- as Toog himself described it, he drew the idea of Lou Etendue from the work of French poet and World War I victim Guilliaume Apollinaire, combined with how he felt open meeting actress and film director Asia Argento around the time of the 9/11 disaster. With Argento contributing some singing and lyrics and Apollinaire's work providing the lyrics to "Les 9 Portes," Toog also brought fellow French musician Digiki on board as co-producer, resulting in a strikingly electronic/pop album at once sparkling and sorrowful. The sense of elegant play that marks Toog's earlier work isn't abandoned by any means, but whether it's the two-note piano part at the heart of the aptly titled "Opening" or the calm descending notes on "Les Belles Endormies," Lou Étendue is an album of melancholy and consideration. Toog's singing is equally reflective and calm in tone, as can be readily heard on "Par Tous les Temps" or the Apollinaire recitation, a straight spoken word-with-music-affair but no less affecting for it. Digiki's contribution can be heard in the glitch-inclined elements of many songs, disruptive but at the same time controlled -- there's no pulverization of songs here, more the occasional undercutting stutter or soft percussion as clicks and soft pulses. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most brusque, loudest song, with feedback and harsh beats, is bluntly called "Terroriste." Combined with the slightly more traditional bent of the arrangements, it makes for a fine blend of past and present to create something else. Argento's full collaboration on the album, vocally and lyrically, is "Ugly Duckling," the combination of slow accordion and Argento's low speaking and whispered singing suggesting a mourning song voiced by Jarboe, while her concluding turn on "Side Love Project" ends the album on a wonderfully cryptic note, addressing not merely love but possibly the whole nature of the album's project with pitiless cool. (Ned Raggett)

Lyrics in French