(All Album Reviews by jlneudorf)
French musician Louis De Mieulle was born and raised in Paris and at an early age started playing the cello. Before moving to the United States he graduated from National Conservatory of Music and The American School of Modern Music. Once in the US he obtained a degree from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He is now based out of New York City. Those are impressive credentials and it shows on his first solo album Defense Mechanisms.
The band consists of Mieulle (bass, keyboards), Matt Garstka (drums) and Casimir Liberski (piano, keyboards). Mieulle’s brand of jazz takes the listener into other territories such as fusion and the avant-garde, which makes for an absorbing and interesting listen. Mieulle’s bass work is a highlight throughout and the music is quite spacious, allowing all the instruments to shine in a clear and concise way.
Songs like “Scapegoat 1” and “Scapegoat 2” show off Mieulle’s deep bass grooves and Garstka’s free flowing polyrhythmic structures on the drums. Both tunes settle into a cool sound which I found to be strangely hypnotic and trance-like. The second tune is a bit slower offering a more minimalistic approach. The strangely titled “Electric Cell Mutations” is more chaotic with fuzzier bass tones and dreamy cascades of piano lines with elements of fusion creeping into the mix.
One of the more interesting tracks is the trippy “Soundfrieze”. Cool effects and spacey textures give this one a more experimental feel while staying within the confines of jazz. “The Taste of Filth” is the album’s longest song showcasing outstanding piano, bass and drums. Garstka’s complicated polyrhythms are a definite highlight and the song does a fine job blending slight harmonic discord with some outstanding melodies.
Defense Mechanisms is a fine debut which I whole heartedly recommend for jazz listeners searching for something a little different.