Boomkat Product Review:
Misunderstood when it was initially released in 1985, this Belgian noir-electronique outlier has finally been remastered and reissued. Romantic and enigmatic synth music sprayed with poetry and lounge jazz, it's a slow burning, cigarillo-smoked jammer for anyone with heart-eyes aimed towards Minimal Wave, Antena, or Music From Memory.
It was an inclusion on Music From Memory's ace 'Uneven Paths: Deviant Pop From Europe' compilation that prompted a resurgence of interest in Piscine Et Charles's Disques du Crepescule-released "Quart de Tour, Mon Amour". The Belgian duo only released this single album, but it was a quiet marvel - confounding audiences in the mid-80s but sounding oddly prescient now.
Luc Raemdonck and Dominique Outers assembled the record with a tiny ensemble of players and a handful of synths and rhythm boxes, fusing cold wave minimalism with sultry French poetics and lounge-exotica moods. Bizarrely, it pre-empted the later acid jazz movement, missing that wave of interest in re-booted lounge sounds - but now Raemdonck and Outers' solitary opus is well worthy of re-evaluation.
Musically, the album is all soft-focus, slow pulse beatbox rhythms, dislocated piano chords, weightless plastic synth pads, xylophone pings, and moody French spoken word. With this particular set of ingredients, the possibility of overbaking is high, but Raemdonck and Outers prove expert boulangers, never filling their tracks with too many elements and allowing the critical mood to prevail. The title track (which means 'Quarter Turn, My Love' in English) is where everything coalesces most perfectly: subtle clipped funk bass, fractured low 'n slow electro beats, "Oxygène" synth chimes and deadpan French vocals. On 'Existe En Rouge' meanwhile, classical singer Lucie Grauman coos operatic over slippery guitar and stark percussion.
This is skeletal, almost demo-esque music and all the better for it - nothing's overworked or overproduced. If we think about the time period when it was released, pop music was fixated on slick excess, and the popular underground was mired in synthpop - Piscine Et Charles offer a charming foil, full of surreal, romantic blues and high-minded Belgique free thought.