This is an EP review for Resident Advisor. It was first published in April 2021.
It’s been more than a year since the pandemic put the world on an inflection point, and one question pops up nearly every day: what next? Some are optimistic as a number of countries seem to phase out of the crisis, while others are skeptical, bringing this haziness to their music making. This is what we hear in Bienvenue, a danceable spoken word EP from French-Tunisian philosopher Mehdi Belhaj Kacem and musician Nicolas Jorio. The record opens up with a spaced-out drone piece pivoting around raw modulated synth tones, which play the role of both rhythm and melody. The B-side has a decadent science fiction vibe with flanged synths and a driving 4/4 rhythm under Kacem’s sinister poem, which talks about everything from the omnipresence of big data to the persistence of fascism. It’s a hypnotic blend that could both move bodies and trigger puzzling thoughts.