Two prolific artists from France have teamed up for a collaboration spanning two albums. NLC (Nouvelles Lectures Cosmopolites) aka Julien ASH from Céret in the Pyrenees has already released several titles on attenuation circuit. Grosso Gadgetto aka Christian Gonzalez from Lyons is a newcomer to the label roster. On the two albums they bring together their shared talent for lush textural drone/ambient sounds. However, with its finely crafted rhythms and mournful melodies, the collaboration also offers an exciting glimpse of what 'pop' music could sound like if conceived from an underground/experimental perspective.

NLC and Grosso Gadgetto have also invited guest musicians on both albums. On the first one we hear P-Y Lebeau (electric and acoustic guitar, vibraphone), Liesbeth Houdijk and PrOphecy Sun (voices), as well as Jean-Paul Escudero, Aloïs L. and R. Hartog (violins). One of the most striking features is the presence of violins (even as lead instruments) on both parts of the diptych, as Jean-Paul Escudero also plays as a guest violinist on the second album. The warm timbre of the string instruments forms an interesting contrast to the more glacially electronic sounds. Throughout both albums with their different nuances, Gonzalez, ASH, and their collaborators achieve a high degree of suspense and atmospheric density. Whether this is due to Grosso Gadgetto's background in film music or not, it certainly makes for exciting and highly accessible 'cinéma pour l'oreille' of a different sort.

File under: ambient, drone, electro

ACU 1044

factory-produced CDr in cardboard sleeve

Released in 2022

limited to 100 copies

price: 7.00 EUR (excl. postage)

NLC vs Grosso Gadgetto are: Julien ASH and Christian Gonzalez
All music written, recorded + mixed by NLC vs Grosso Gadgetto
Jan/March 2022

Guest musician:
Jean-Paul Escudero: violin

Digital mastering by Aloïs L.
Sleeve by Agent MS

Also available here:



Christian Gonzalez is from Lyon, France, and works as Grosso Gadgetto. I don't think I had heard his music before. These two albums make up for that omission, even when it is 'only' a collaboration with Julien Ash's NLC. That acronym stands for Nouvelles Lectures Cosmopolites, which has been around for many years. In recent times, NLC seems to be more active than before. I would think, judging, by the credits and such, that whose name appears first had the final say in the mix of the music. Vital Weekly has increasingly become the go-to source for all things improvisation, modern classical and (free-) jazz, which is, strictly personally speaking, not a direction that I think it should have. Albums like these two mark the important difference concerning that kind of music; the historical Vital, if you will. For no particular reason, I started with 'Snake Moult', but I first played both of them to see what the differences are. One album is about forty-five minutes, the other thirty-eight. Upon completing to hear both discs, it is safe to say there are significant differences. Grosso Gadgetto loves his sounds to be more ambient, whereas NLC has a penchant for rhythm. Both discs have a few guest players, violins, voices, guitar, and vibraphone, and it seems to me that Grosso Gadgetto uses these to somewhat greater effect. I guess that has to do with the nature of his music. I am told he has a background in film music, and his six pieces could easily be used in such a context. Moody and atmospheric, but also very musical. Lots of small melodic stuff going on, surrounded by some bows across strings. The voice in 'Smile Of The Shaman' reminded me of Kate Bush, which is a good thing in my book. Music with a story to tell or images to be drawn.
NLC gets more out of rhythm machines and sequences whatever melodic input from Grosso Gadgetto into six pieces of light electronic bliss. Trippy music, with neatly bouncing rhythms for a jolly good mood, even when the undercurrent is a bit darker at times. Or perhaps I am used to too much doom and gloom that easily mistake this for jolly ol' fun? I wouldn't know if this is the sort of music aimed at the dance floor; somehow, I don't think so. This music, full of rhythm, life and drama, is one for modern living rooms. Neatly structured, nothing rough at the edges, well-produced with all the notes in the right place. Plus, also substantial, with the right amount of variation, from the introspective to the jubilant end.



Bei Story of an Ordinary Day (ACU 1043) & Snake Moult (ACU 1044) ist das versus von GROSSO GADGETTO vs NLC und NLC vs GROSSO GADGETTO eigentlich fehl am Platz, denn Christian Gonzales und Julien Ash, der eine in Lyon, der andere in Céret am Fuß der Pyrenäen, stellen hier keine Gegensätzlichkeiten, sondern ihren Einklang in den Raum. Den sie ausgestalten mit noch Klangspuren von P-Y Lebeau (electric and acoustic guitar, vibraphone), Liesbeth Houdijk & PrOphecy Sun (voices) sowie Joan-Pau Escudero, Aloïs L. & R. Hartog (violins), und auf der zweiten Scheibe ist immer noch Escudero zu hören. Neben natürlich in der Hauptsache Electronics und Fieldrecordings, für einerseits die Scheidung von Gut und Böse unter einem finsteren, mit Höllenkreisen und einer Vorhölle verhängten Himmel ('Doctrine of Limbo'), unter dem ein Schamane grinst, wo es an Helden fehlt. „Snake Moult“ bringt, mit schlangenmystischem Mythos, in dem die Häutung für Wiedergeburt, ewige Jugend und Unsterblichkeit steht: 'Learning to fly', 'Battle in the staircase', 'Reaching higher levels'. Fliegen und steigen soll offenbar eine 'Army of the disowned', von Verleugneten, Enterbten. The 'devil's army'? Gonzales hat als Pfadfinder in Golarion im 'Book of the Damned' geblättert, über den Krieg im Himmel zwischen Asmo­deus und Ihys, Ordnung und Chaos, und deren zwischen Freiheit und Hölle ausbalancier­tem Kräftespiel. Daher sein dystopischer Blick bei „Droom“, „1984“, „World ruled by big pigs“, bei „Grossomodo“ mit Antonella Eye Porcelluzzi, die da ein kritisches Auge auf die Italiener, Franzosen, Amerikaner, Deutschen und Chinesen wirft. Hier, mit Ash an der Seite, wird mit Dröhnwellen, Wummerorgel, Gitarren- und Geigensound, Giallopiano, Ge­lächter, Engels- und Vogelstimmen, ein gewöhnlicher Tag evoziert. So traurig, wie er von oben erscheint, so düster wie aus der Sicht der Erniedrigten und Beleidigten und bei 'Smile of the Shaman' besonders neofolkelegisch eingefangen und bei 'Missing Hero' wie mit Tubas beschallt, wie am offenen Grab begeigt, im knarrenden Limbus mit rhythmi­schem Kling- und Vibesklang. 'Back to Reality' vereint in dräuenden Schüben diskante Bogenstriche mit abyssalem Om, geheimnisvollem Gewisper. Worauf, wie gesagt, die Schlange sich in den Schwanz beißt, in pizzicatofragilem Tanz, statt der geballten Faust das strahlende Auge wissend erhoben. Die Army marschiert nicht, sie tanzt, allerdings schillernd aufgekratzt, auch wenn sich in den optimistischen Duktus elegische Geigen­striche mischen und sich eine 'Schlacht' entspinnt zwischen sprunghafter, rhythmisierter J.-M.-Jarre-Dynamik und hemmenden Kräften, in der bei 'Yelling at the ground' das Schnelle und Helle die Oberhand behält und doch den elegischen Saum nicht abschütteln kann. Und die finale Synthese hat sogar in ihrer tüpfeligen Wallung die dunkel fundierte Melancholie der Geige in sich aufgenommen.

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