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PAN M 360’S TOP 100 OF 2021! (PART 2 – MARCH TO JUNE)

by Rédaction PAN M 360

PAN M 360’s rundown of the hundred best music releases of 2021, in five parts over five days, continues with amazing selections that came out between March and June.

The Pan M 360 Team

Feu! Chatterton
Palais d’argile
Caroline

Arthur Teboul (lyricist and singer) and his colleagues Raphaël de Pressigny (drummer), Antoine Wilson (bassist), Clément Doumic and Sébastien Wolf (guitarists and keyboardists) had a whole batch of songs in the form of demos when quarantine began. All that remained was to choose the ones that would appear on Palais d’argile, and then find a producer. Feu! Chatterton chose Arnaud Rebotini and the result is more than convincing: Palais d’argile is even better, in every respect, than what Feu! has produced before. Between the bookends “Un monde nouveau” and “Monde nouveau”, 12 other equally stimulating tracks roll by. (Luc Marchessault)

Institut
L’effet waouh des zones côtières
Rouge Déclic

L’effet waouh des zones côtières is the third album by the trio Institut, after Spécialiste mondial du retour d’affection (2016) and Ils avaient tombés amoureux instantanément (2011). Arnaud Dumatin, the director of Institut, wrote and composed almost everything. As a lyricist, he generally poses as a disillusioned observer. He takes us on a tour of Michel Houellebecq’s literary field, where the ambient air exudes the scent of the end of civilization. Nina Savary elevates the proposal with her exquisite voice. The musicophile will be comforted by L’effet waouh des zones côtières because poetry, even lucid and jaded, remains a beacon of hope. (Luc Marchessault)


Danny Driver
Ligeti : 18 études

Hyperion

A syncretism of the best musical practices of the 20th century. That’s what Ligeti’s Études are, a monument to modern piano scholarship that is playful, demanding and challenging. Danny Driver has made these grandiose miniatures his own with strength and personality. (Frédéric Cardin)

BAAB
Rédactions tranquilles
MFC Records

For their first album, the Montreal duo BAAB has cleverly and creatively appropriated the codes of lo-fi house, jazz, and pop, sometimes even flirting with the experimental. The ethereal voice of Mariève Harel-Michon, alias Bayta, intertwines fluidly and smoothly with the catchy compositions of Charles-David Dubé. It’s captivating, touching and balms the soul. With Rédactions tranquilles, a breath of fresh air blows across the local scene. Definitely worth following. (Elsa Fortant)


Gojira
Fortitude
Roadrunner Records

One thing is certain: the French quartet Gojira has a high average in terms of album quality. Out of seven releases, including Fortitude, only The Link (2003) is unlistenable. In their 25-year career, Gojira have almost always succeeded in reinventing themselves in their own universe of multi-dimensional, spellbinding songs. There is still plenty to think about in Gojira’s lyrics. Then, enveloping and powerful melodies remind us that the band hasn’t lost all its punch, even if the harmonies take more space than before. (Christine Fortier)

Dry Cleaning
New Long Leg
4AD

If Dry Cleaning borrow from a lot of the art-punk, post-punk and alternatives scenes, from Siouxsie and the Banshees to The Fall and even Marianne Faithfull, or all those, more contemporary, who adopted the declamatory style instead of singing (Sleaford Mods, Yard Act, Protomartyr, Gudrun Gut and so many others), the London band managed to impose itself thanks to the cold and detached voice of its singer Florence Shaw. In a monotone, she delivers emotionless lyrics bordering on the absurd, in which observations of everyday life and ironic winks coexist. The dichotomy between the voice and the music is even more obvious in concert, when the lady remains impassive while the rest of the band gets excited on their instruments. Although the formula has its limits (mind you, the Sleaford Mods are on their eleventh album…), Dry Cleaning’s unusual approach is intriguing and may charm for a while yet. (Patrick Baillargeon)


Cadence Weapon
Parallel World
eOne Music

Cadence Weapon has made great strides on the road to the Polaris Prize, which he won in 2021 after being shortlisted for it in 2006. The rapper fully deserves the prize, as he has developed an electronic rap that is perfectly distinct from the hip-hop trends in North America (trap, drill, etc.) and also from the variations of British grime, while drawing from both sides of the Atlantic to develop a unique language. An excellent chronicler of the social movement, including systemic racism and possible authoritarian drifts in a digital environment, Cadence Weapon is without a doubt an extraordinary artist. (Alain Brunet)

Laurence Anne
Musivision
Bonsound

Dream pop, art rock, cosmic funk, synthwave… these labels together cannot accurately describe Laurence Anne’s music, which is distinct from all of the movements of the indie scene in French-speaking America—earning her the status of Artist of the Year at GAMIQ. Her woolly, high-pitched voice flies over singular arrangements and an astonishing compositional diversity. A little cryptic, this opus is a “collection of letters to a former secret lover” and the “soundtrack that echoes within the walls of a mysterious manor.” So… one does not enter this manor for its poetic properties, but for the rich sound vibrations that resonate there. (Alain Brunet)


Birmani
Birmani
Cuchabata

After three EPs bearing the Birmani seal, released between autumn 2018 and spring 2019, here’s a collection that could be described as complete since it totals 33 minutes and a few seconds of music. We hear syncopated rhythms, riffs that split the auditory space, blues heavily weighted with psychedelia, and evocations of Soundgarden, Queens of the Stone Age and Mastodon. Besides the lyrical contribution of author Gabrielle Delamer on three songs, Simon Doucet-Carrière, Antoine Lévesque-Roy and Mathieu Racine did everything themselves. This eponymous album will fill the hearts of all music fans fond of stoner, metal and sludge sounds. (Luc Marchessault)

Konstantia Gourzi
Anajikon

ECM

One wanders through Anajikon as if in a misty dream, poignant melodies here, some slightly spicy dissonances elsewhere, accompanying us like benevolent guides. One quickly has the impression of plunging into the soundtrack of a Theo Angelopoulos film. It is true that Gourzi’s pen has something as evocative as Eleni Karaindrou’s music and almost invites us at times to wait for the entrance of Angelique Ionnatos’ magical voice. Nils Mönkemeyer (viola), William Youn (piano), the Lucerne Academy Orchestra and the Miguet Quartett are all excellent. Not to be missed under any circumstances. (Frédéric Cardin)


Charles Richard-Hamelin
Chopin : 24 préludes; Andante Spianato et Grande polonaise brillante

Analekta

CRH is resolutely romantic, encouraging the full viscerality of the scores to blossom. Chopin is an extension of the young man’s musical soul, which continues to grow in maturity year after year. This album demonstrates the evocative power that CRH brilliantly builds into each of the 24 miniature gems of Op. 28 signed by the great Frédéric. (Frédéric Cardin)

Deine Lakaien
Dual
Prophecy Productions

This group, emblematic of the German cultural scene, offers a very original tenth album: ten new tracks, composed under the inspiration of pieces by other artists, precede the band’s covers of these inspiring pieces. They come from eclectic musical horizons, from Can (“Spoon”) to Cat Stevens (“Lady D’Arbanville”) via Jacques Brel (“La chanson des vieux amants”) and even Linkin Park (“My December”), to which the band has the genius of offering as many tailor-made settings. The eminent composing talents of pianist Ernst Horn are complemented by Alexander Veljanov’s smooth and generous voice. (Geneviève Gendreau)


Squid
Bright Green Field

Warp

We could spend hours dissecting the many facets of Bright Green Field. We could linger on the lyrics that denounce the pharmaceutical industry, that ironicize the victims of fashion in the digital age, that ridicule the aerobic machines in the gym. We could dwell on the musical and academic talents of Squid’s artists, who draw inspiration from the autodidacts of previous generations. We could discuss the clever mix of genres and improvisations that make up the colour of this vast musical field. For the sake of brevity, we can say that it is very, very good. (Louis Garneau-Pilon)

Yautja
The Lurch

Relapse

Do you like bands that can surprise you with fearless rhythm changes? Then listen to Yautja. The Nashville trio consists of bassist/vocalist Kayhan Vaziri (Coliseum, Die Young), drummer/vocalist Tyler Coburn (Thou, Gnarhwal, Mutilation Rites) and guitarist/vocalist Shibby Poole (Thirdface), which also gives a good indication of the quality of The Lurch. Listening to this album, one is initially reminded of Converge, Baptists and Pig Destroyer, but there are also passages that evoke the mathcore of The Dillinger Escape Plan, the fury of Napalm Death and the depth of Gorguts. We can only highly recommend Yautja’s The Lurch. (Christine Fortier)


Teke::Teke
Shirushi
Kill Rock Stars/Ray-On

A seven-headed monster, Teke::Teke is a strange beast. Originally conceived as an unlikely tribute to legendary Japanese guitarist Takeshi Terauchi, the band has expanded its scope, fusing virtually everything in its path, incorporating several traditional and exotic instruments into its mix, thus creating its own musical universe. The Montreal collective’s schizophrenic music is anything but banal, and Shirushi, the septet’s first full-length album, illustrates this perfectly over 10 tracks. From Japanese surf-rock to epic flights of fancy á la Sergio Leone or Badalamenti, through punk-prog charges soaked in lysergic essences and other mystical pieces approaching Japanese enka, the whole is brilliantly led by theatrical singer Maya Kuroki. Operating only in Japanese, Kuroki captivates, masterfully sublimating the group’s music, giving it an aura of mystery and madness. (Patrick Baillargeon)

Robert Robert
Silicone Villeray
Chivi Chivi

Silicone Villeray is located north of the Colorado Plateau and west of Rosemount, Minnesota. This is the home of Arthur Gaumont-Marchand, aka Robert Robert. On Silicone Villeray, he shifts his focus from electro and house variants of club music to pop sub-genres. Robert has started writing lyrics, with the help of Hubert Lenoir and Benoît Parent. The result is convincing—reflections, introspections and simple but well-turned observations. On Silicone Villeray, Robert Robert achieves the delicate prosodic balance as dear to pop creators as the Ark of the Covenant was to Indiana Jones. (Luc Marchessault)


Night Beats
Outlaw R&B
Fuzz Club

Night Beats est le véhicule de l’auteur-compositeur-interprète Danny Lee Blackwell, seul Night Beats is the vehicle of singer-songwriter Danny Lee Blackwell, the only permanent member of this Washington State band. We’ve been following the evolution of his musical palette since 2011. While it doesn’t provoke love at first listen, like the cult song “Puppet on a String” the album Outlaw R&B takes the Night Beats sound to horizons where perspectives warp through the heat screen. We get out of the garage a bit, but we don’t stray too far from it either. Just enough to get some sun. (Patrice Caron)

Mustafa
When Smoke Rises

Regent Park Songs

While the youth of his generation preferred hip-hop, Mustafa listened to Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell and Richie Havens. He felt that folk allowed him to explore a more intimate, sentimental poetic language. When Smoke Rises explores the feeling after a tragedy: its title and tracks refer to the death of his friend and rapper Smoke Dawg, who was shot in 2018. These eight folk-pop songs are an introspective look at the stages of grief. “The Hearse” is about the desire to avenge the death of his friend, but ultimately comes across as a love song, rather than a violent one. (Jade Baril)


Yoo Doo Right
Don’t Think You Can Escape Your Purpose
Mothland

Post-rock has always been a burgeoning genre in Montreal, ever since Godspeed! You Black Emperor and Fly Pan Am’s debuts, but Yoo Doo Right is slowly rewriting what can be done with it. With a sound that can melt tears and shake city streets, Yoo Doo Right create sonic galaxies and then tear them down within the span of six minutes. Their 2021 album Don’t Think You Can Escape Your Purpose is an aural masterpiece. (Stephan Boissonneault)

Jesse Royal
Royal
Easy Star

For his album Royal, released last June, Jesse Royal surrounded himself with half a dozen producers—Sean Alaric (Koffee), Natural High and Wayne Thompson, among others—for 11 tracks of various styles, all of which put forward his Rastafarian prose. The record begins and ends with parables, Rasta wisdom flowing freely over a variety of rhythms borrowing from hip-hop, jazz, blues, Afrobeat and, of course, dancehall. In just a few years, Royal has developed an enviable reputation that has attracted high-profile collaborators such as Kumar, Runkus, Stonebwoy, Protojé and Vybz Kartel. (Richard Lafrance)

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