I imagine Fursy Teyssier has to be feeling pretty good right now. His humble design studio has quickly gone from doing a few layouts for fledgling bands to doing some of the better, most recognized, and in demand work around. Lately, he's expanded into directing music videos, and done a fine job at it. And somewhere in between, he's birthed a musical counterpart to his art. Certainly makes my post-college accomplishments look trivial! Starting off this split is a new piece, Le mouvement perpétuel, which further solidifies this project's role as a blurred line on the outskirts of metal.
Whereas many musicians have taken aim to coalesce the dramatic elements of heavy metal with cherry-picked accents from shoegaze and post-rock, Les Discrets is using metal as the abstract, floating the distorted guitars and thundering percussion through airy acoustic passages and hazy walls of noise. I once described this sound as akin to a Miyazaki-penned world, and it holds true here. There is a beautiful sense of familiarity wrapped in a melancholic fog. Some bands opt to thrust a listener in to strange and hostile territory; Les Discrets acts as an old companion travelling alongside. The second track is a simple melody, and a decent passage out from what the previous number builds.
Arctic Plateau comprises the back half of this split, which is actually about double the length afforded to Les Discrets. I've been interested in this band's debut, but haven't picked it up yet, mostly due to the rather high price it usually commands. The primary contribution, Music's Like... hits the typical marks for nature-inspired post-rock quite well. This is the sort of music bred for long gazes at awe-inspiring landscapes - and I should know, I'm one of those annoying people who stops stares wistfully into the distance at every scenic view. Though it'd be easy to dismiss Gianluca's work as derivative, he has a leg up on a lot of other outfits in his superior clean vocals and solid guitar work. While Arctic Plateau has some potential to fulfill, these tracks have sold me on picking up the full length.
Both bands contribute strong material to this split, and compliment one another's style well. A split is defined by balance, where a band in their prime could brutally minimize the impact of a newcomer. Here, the two respective contributors are in similar places stylistically, where a solid foundation has been laid and now they can begin building upon it. And with each, my interest has been piqued for their upcoming releases.