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Two years after “Univers-île”, Labelle is back with a new project. And its a daring realization of a dream at that: the creation of his own orchestra, the Orchestre univers.

With the help of the Orchestre Regional de la Réunion, the producer opens a new chapter in the merging of classical and electronic music, and the heritage of Europe and the Indian Ocean. This third LP, composed especially for the Orchestre univers, was recorded live over the course of four concerts, performed at the four corners of the Réunion, in the island’s most beautiful concert halls. A sequence of breathless trancelike moments, Post-maloya and technological experiments, the album floats between tradition and modernity, like a sonic odyssey that is only the beginning of an ongoing saga...

Jérémy Labelle was born in Rennes, Brittany, to a Réunionnais father who came to France in the 1970s, and a Metropolitan French mother. When Jérémy was a child, the family home was alive with a medley of musical styles and sensibilities: the music of the Indian Ocean, his amateur-musician father's séga, Jean-Michel Jarre's trippy synths (his mother's favorite), and the Detroit techno brought home by his brother.

As a teenager Jérémy discovered maloya, a style of traditional Réunion music that dates back to the days of colonization – and slavery, and was banned for decades by a conservative and assimilationist government, which sought to erase the style's autonomist and secessionist roots. While training to mix the likes of Derrick May and Jeff Mills, Jérémy began making parallels between the politicized discourses of Underground Resistance and the issues brought forth by Réunionnais musicians, and between two musical movements that share a certain vision of trance and escapism.

A few years later, he widened his spectrum of personal musical knowledge by studying musicology "in a broad sense, ranging from ethnic music to jazz and contemporary music." While continuing to consider himself self- taught, he built up a solid theoretical background, become fluent in the rules of musical composition, a particularly valuable know-how when it comes to establishing a dialogue with classically-trained musicians and transcribing the music of his orchestra.

 

Artwork by KidKreol & Boogie 

 

Prompted by his passion for the style’s three-part rhythm, Jérémy decided to move to La Réunion in 2011, as if out of an irrepressible need to come back home to his musical inspirations, but also his origins, in search of his identity in a world still steeped in the hangover of colonialism. It is on the Island, amid a vibrant patchwork of ethnicities and faiths, in the middle of the stifling flora, and bathed in the Indian Ocean’s varied musical heritage, that Jérémy would commit himself to composing full-time. In a way, the “Orchestre univers” story is also one of rebirth.

From the forty-or-so available musicians, Jérémy chose from a handful of instruments and twelve performers. He met with them individually, recording his interviews and taking careful notes in order to compose music that is both close to his expectations as a producer and takes advantage of each musician's skills, while remaining playable live.

Accompanied by the Orchestre univers, the guest conductor Laurent Goossaert and Indian guitarist Prakash Sontakke, the album revisits three titles from Labelle's discography and offers seven new ones, giving Labelle's music a new dimension, where all the producer's obsessions rush like free electrons released in the void of the galaxy.

Playing as much with space as with time, allowing for breathing spaces and moments of tension, telluric bursts as well as reveries, "Orchestre univers" is bringing Labelle's compositional work closer and closer to that of American minimalists like Steve Reich and Terry Riley, while offering the concept of world music the most beautiful of renaissances.

About Labelle:

With 2013's "Ensemble", French musician and producer Jérémy Labelle laid the foundations of a universe that brought together two worlds that everything seemed to distance: The Intelligent Dance Music of artists like Aphex Twin or Autechre and maloya, a traditional style of music from the Réunion, to which Labelle traces back his roots.

In 2015, he performed with South African singer Hlasko at the Trans-Musicales festival under the Kaang moniker, and composed soundtracks for dance shows, scores for documentaries and won the Indian Ocean Music Award.

In 2017, he signed to InFiné and invited several maloya legends such as Zanmari Baré and Nathalie Natiembé as well as musicians such as Ballaké Sissoko and Parkash Sontakke on his second album, "univers-île". His music becomes more symphonic, more open to the world, and explores identity, roots, genealogy, traditional and electronic music, afro-futurism, cosmogony and mixed-race identities.

`Orchestre univers ́, his third live album recorded with the National Orchestra during a 4-date tour of the island, will be released in April 2019.

 

TRACKLISTING

1. Playing at the end of the Universe

2. émotion du vide

3. Soul Introspection (feat. Prakash Sontakke)

4. Le moment présent

5. Oublie-voie-espace-dimension

6. O

7. Mécanique inversée (feat. Prakash Sontakke)

8. Stase, différence et répétition

9. re-créer

 

TOUR DATES

22.06.19 - Philharmonie - Paris/FR

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