The Swan the Horse and the Black MatterMusic • CD
Acoustic • Drone • Electro • Experimental • Neoclassical • Unclassifiable
23/06/2014, Peter GEYSELS
Qlay was founded in 2009 from a “violent artistic inner impulse”. It started as an atmospheric folk one man band (cello, guitar, loop station) incarnated in the French musician Quentin Gendrot. Later drummer Simon Renault (Warattah, Thousand Ravens,...) and bass player Geoffrey “Shob” Neau (Eths, Thousand Ravens, Kubiack,...) joined him and the project evolved in to a powerful rock trio. Qlay however can still be seen and heard in it’s original form from time to time.
It isn’t easy to described te musicof Qlay. As a harsh progressive rock/metal band they are influenced by kinds of music. From electronic pop to extreme metal, along with jazz, classical and world music.The result: cutting guitar riffs, heavy and powerful bass and drums, mesmerizing cellos, and a versatile and aerial voice, switching between joyful melodies and rageful screamings.
“The Swan the Horse and the Black Matter” (2013) is the first EP of Qlay but already we have here a beatifully finished product. All songs on this EP tell one story, dark and full of suspence. “The Swan the Horse and the Black Matter” talks about passions and feelings, the relatioship between people, nightmares turned into fantasies (“Sleepless”, impulses of vengeance unfulfilled (“Voice of the Adversaries” and the scceptance of frustration of what is beyond our control, like death (“My Grief”).
The title of this EP itself gives an introduction on the story in the five songs. The swan and the horse are two iconic animals, the first is a symbol of beauty and femininity, and the other represents virility and power. These two figures also represent death in their own way, the swan by his famous dirge (explicitly portrayed in "Swan"), and the horse by the way it is shown in the introduction to the album, "Dead Horses "which is the result of a dream.
"Dark matter" is Qlay itself. A kind of strange and dark clay, it represents our childish desire to create and build, build relationships between things and concepts, which at first does not necessarily match, or even are opposed. Here, for example the swan and the horse, male and female. As a way, perhaps, to describe their love for mixing different musical styles and jumping between the different emotions expressed in the music.
“Chevaux Morts” (Dead Horses). As the title sugests it creates a dark and unfamiliar atmosphere. It stands out a bit of the rest of ‘the story’ told on this album, but it grabs your attention, it makes you curious for more.
In “Sleeples” the story starts to unveil. The voice and text, the melancholy cello and soft percussion are the basic ingredients that come together with a very unique and personal result.
In “Voice of the Adversaries” the mood changes. Can I say a cozy atmosphere? More groovy rhythms, maybe even jazzy. It’s not easy to put a precise genre on the music of Qlay, but it never sounds messy. It’s a well chosen path. And again in this song voice and cello take a beatiful lead in the story told.
"Swan" is again an istrumental piece. Relatively simple but very beautiful, this musical elegy brings a melancholy moment in the story.
The last chapter, the conclusion of the journey, “My Grief” is a well chosen song to finish this story. It concludes the story, it’s an heroic ending, but not the end. After listening to this song you just star craving at the follow up.
In short, discovering the music of Qlay was an eye, and ear, opener. A slap in the face but with a silk glove. I fell in love (ok, a Gothic love in black lace, but that’s me) and I hope te hear more of them soon.
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