Chloé: One in Other
Chloé Thévenin made her name as one of a famed group of DJs (along with Sextoy and Jennifer Cardini) at the Pulp club in Paris and has since gained a reputation as a doyenne of minimal. Her parallel recordings, from 2007’s ‘The Waiting Room’ onward, sit at a kind of oblique angle to the minimal and tech-house styles of her DJs sets. A froideur dominates this latest release; her barely sung, mostly just intoned, vocals transmit even less human warmth than those of another French auteuresse, EDH.
If minimal is the young, monied jetset’s party soundtrack of choice, then the electro-acoustic landscapes of ‘One in Other’, wittingly or not, describe a joylessness at its core. Rather than a chill-out soundtrack for between times, this is a deep-freeze, hearts on ice – or perhaps even the parties, the ‘good times’, have just become a reflex action. The repeating guitar refrain on ‘Slow Lane’, is like a flicker of emotion on a loop; on the slow, noirish title track, Chloé whispers flatly “blessed is the one who loves me/you can have me forever” as the sound of the wind (or an electronic approximation of it) swirls around her.The chilly world Thévenin describes is exemplified by ‘Diva’. In rave terms, the diva vocal stab has tended to be a sensuous ecstasy intensifier, an abstract embodiment of ecstasy itself; here the diva voice is a muted ghost of a European operatic singer rather than anything soul/disco derived, a mournful accompaniment to a ten-minute long ride through a tunnel of concrete, plastic and neon.
There’s a thaw of sorts on the album’s last track ‘Ways Ahead’: a gently post-rock-y, lazy-limbed groove that suggests a tentative step forwards and outwards. Otherwise ‘One in Other’ is a largely unpretty record that effectively describes and perhaps probes a certain listlessness and malaise. Intriguing and a little numbing.