The sounds on D’incise‘s Cendre et Poudre are as precise and brittle as his explanatory note is poetic and image-laden. The record sounds like a version of that hardscrabble aesthetic once described as “bone machine” music by Tom Waits. It’s all rusty metal and clanging springs and bouncing objects and other slowly shuffled ephemera, all fixed in a soundfield against a backdrop of noise, the noise of the lightly brushed surface of a microphone. But in the English translation of D’incise, Cendre et Poudre (or Ash and Powder) is also all the bittersweet aura of the past:
a still inhabited space meticulous archaeology, on half-earased pages remained open books, that others meant and nobody knew how to don’t tell, silky mineral prints, time put in flesh and bones, notes without stave and rhythms without fasteners, to the powder indifferent breath, to the ash return cycle.
Among the highlights is the opening track, “Achever la Page à Tourner” (roughly “Complete Page to Turn”) (MP3). Throughout there is the sense of digital processing, but it is no more in the foreground than that surface noise; it’s merely the equivalent of a digital breeze rattling D’incise’s chimes.