Album of the Week // 22–26 February
Meril Wubslin — Alors Quoi [Bongo Joe]
Meril Wubslin’s story begins in 2010, in duet with Christian Garcia-Gaucher and Valérie Niederoest. With a first album -1- released on the Saïko label in Fribourg, the group has performed in Switzerland and around the world (Warsaw, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Brussels). After spending a lot of time composing film music and other professional activities in the field of performing arts, the Meril call upon the drummer Jérémie Conne to increase in power and rhythmic richness.
In 2016, their second album Sinon was released this time on the Cheptel Records label based in Geneva. There is a shift in the group’s writing: from now on all the texts are in French, which was not the case of the first record. For this record, Meril Wubslin team up with a small amateur choir for some songs, which adds richness and colour. The whole is accompanied by a series of video clips called Bandes no. X .
After meeting Cyril Yeterian (founder of the Bongo Joe label), the Merils came to the conclusion that Bongo Joe records would fit their music and the band’s state of mind even better. Things take shape during 2019 and the record Alors Quoi was be released at the end of January 2021 on this label. Always the same formation and always a small chorus on some tracks, this new disc becomes deliberately more acoustic, and takes some blues colors of the world.
Recorded between Lausanne and Brussels during summer 2019, this new series of songs by Meril Wubslin dig deeper in this tribal, rustic and minimal tendency that they had in the two previous albums. It is the desire to search for sounds, to manipulate matter : sound matter, rhythmic matter, to knead it to its hottest point, that guided the work of composition. All vintage guitars were recorded without amps. Tambourines and other maracas were approached as a drum kit. But the harmonies and melodies are still present and sometimes event enhanced by the occasional participation of a choir of female voices or a minimal synth line. Always with this desire to use French, their mother tongue, while trying to avoid the trap of variété française.
“With this new album, we wanted to try something slightly different with the sound. Explore new ways to record our instruments and voices. Thus we decided to put away our amplifiers that we used for rockier moods. And we tried the acoustic option. We were surprised by the wide range of possibilities, much more direct and much more emotional actually. About the texts, we still insist with this open way of writing, a mixture between abstract and concrete which offers several understandings. With this liberty in the structure, we avoid the predominance of the message, to go towards a more sensitive and open meaning.” — Christian Garcia-Gaucher
Christian Garcia-Gaucher, guitar, vocals, synths, percussions, lyrics
Valérie Niederoest, guitar, vocals, lyrics
Jérémie Conne, percussions, drums
Choir: Constance von Braun, Anne Ducret, Anne Hartmann, Valérie Liengme, Laure-Elia Sauthier, Leili Yahr,
Trombone : Jérome Bugnon
Recorded by: Jérémie Conne and Christian Garcia-Gaucher at Renens (Studio Silo) and Bruxelles (Studio Berkendael), summer 2019
Production: Christian Garcia-Gaucher
Mastering: Timothy Stollenwerk at Stereophonic
Painting: Marius Huguenin
Design: Félix Vincent