Restored 22 April 2017, originally published 16 April 2015
The cover art for Que Chaque Jour Soit Dimanche features a boat over-stuffed with an eclectic group of people (and at least one alien) apparently having a great time on the water. After listening to this album by SEC, I want to find room on that deck so I can join the party.
SEC comes to us from A Tant Rêver Du Roi (“ATRDR”) records via AMMD, a French “Freak & Free Arts cooperative.” AMMD has also produces software and hardware, and have been sharing music for over a decade. According to an email message, their styles include “a strong base in experimental and weirdness, free rock things to electronica, drone/ambient, chanson française, post-rock and so on.” Oh AMMD, you had me at “weirdness.”
In their ”manifesto” SEC lists many things they are not, which ultimately indicates that they are not intended to be taken too seriously: “…SEC is not interested in the stock exchange, SEC does not believe in reform, SEC has no faith …” etc. But if even if we know what they are “not”, what are they?
To sum it up by way of possible influences, in this music I hear elements of the The Birthday Party, Primus, and several members of the Dischord Records stable. Surprisingly, the music seems to mostly include only a bass and drum duo, but the execution on both instruments makes it seem like there are twice as many musicians involved (although it must be noted there are a few additional instrumental contributions among these tracks). Where there are vocals, they are mostly less traditional singing and more noises of exuberance sparked by the performance. Overall it’s an exciting mix and the constant shifts in tempo and feel keeps you guessing what might be next.
The journey through this record starts with “Chocopuff” which features about 30 seconds of chiming church bells, then the duo builds an aggressive tune which found me expecting to hear Nick Cave’s howl at any moment. This track, along with most that follow, features lots of distortion on the bass and odd/shifting time signatures from the drums. While it’s all great, a couple other tracks that stood out are “La Galère” which starts with what could almost be a drunken sacred harp singalong and also features some free jazz sax work, and the song “Run away” with its buzzing strings and screamed vocal freak out.
There is a final long track entitled “(…)” which breaks the mold of the earlier songs; this is a pure musique concrète workout. If I’m not mistaken, the church bells and some of the music from the first track reappear (in altered form) at the very end of this piece, bringing us full circle. It’s an unexpected end to an album full of surprises.
I do have one piece of advice for SEC. To borrow a quote from the movie “Jaws”, if enough people start hearing this music, you’re gonna need a bigger boat.
SEC “Run away”:
SEC “La Galère “: