Julien Sagot’s latest features enough twists, turns, and unexpected bumps in its midnight tunes to keep listeners engaged and enthralled.

There’s a rumble to Julien Sagot’s voice, like a distant thunderstorm signalling its slow but definite approach. It blankets the songs on his latest album, Sagot, like a low fog: thick, fluid, and mysterious. Sagot’s tenor and the overall tone of the music is measured but firm; there’s no questioning the forward momentum of tunes like “Sexe au zeppelin” and “Cendre et descendre,” jazzy in style but moving in very unexpected ways towards an unexpected but satisfying musical conclusion.

“Morte alitée” introduces deep groove and trip-hop atmospherics and finds Sagot taking things up a notch vocally before the song shatters like a broken mirror, sending shards of sax and drums flying while reflecting back elements of its former self at sharp angles. “Vérité detournée” feels like a mix of spoken-word, musical improvisation, and a psychedelic throwback to Sagot’s earlier songs, as if Sagot finds himself wandering a labyrinth of hallways and now finds himself doubling back to a passage he walked through earlier. It’s similar but not repetitive; he brings layers forward from each song, building something new out of the same building blocks. It’s not only a feat of album sequencing but of solid songwriting, finding connective tissue to bound the songs together into a connected whole.

For as much as Sagot signals to listeners where he’s taking them early on, his eponymously titled album conceals more than enough twists, turns, and unexpected bumps in its midnight tunes to keep you engaged and enthralled.

Beverly Glenn-Copeland
Keyboard Fantasies