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Album Review: Rorik Dupuis’ Marches égyptiennes

A masterpiece of ambient jazz, touching on some very rambunctious trip-hop, and some very anomalous experimental sounds.

Ten separate tracks make up Rorik Dupuis' astounding new album: six 'Egyptian', San Stefano Blues, The Audacity, The Great Project, and Safe. He starts with L'Égyptien I, an ambient piano track that takes off sounding like it’s played on an oriental scale, except it’s not. The beginning of the track, however, does portray an evident Middle Eastern influence. The artist quickly gets lost, though, as the rest of the piece plays and the lead is heavily improvised - like most of this album, and Dupuis’ work for that matter. An intriguing sound scape captures the essence of the artist's experience with this 'Egyptian'. It seems Dupuis encountered a rather mellow character, unlike some of the other 'Egyptians' on this album - some are extremely rambunctious, others more mysterious.

We have a feeling this second Egyptian is a girl, melancholic and very graceful. L'Égyptien II plays on two elements – an evolving sound sets the mood, and a lead synth carries on with a distinctive taste that we have become accustomed to from Dupuis. Track three, or L'Égyptien III, is a feisty trip-hop track; the initial lead is a programmed bagpipe instrument paired with a bass line that together sound like excitement with a purpose. The track's second quarter sees the lead handed over to Dupuis’ piano, matching with the bass; it’s as if they are flirting.

Waves crash on an empty beach, pads resembling the rise of the sun and the awakening of the world usher in a highly thought out drum line on L'Égyptien IIII. Percussions are the highlight of this track – a militant vibe takes over before the first break, the beat drops, and the track is brought to a swift end.

The album doesn’t have a message; however, each track does portray a different emotion, a different state of being. It’s ethereal at parts, highly tangible at others. The artist creates a certain atmosphere delivered to the listener in the utmost clarity. The artist goes beyond describing his experience of Egypt's people. On the corniche of Alexandria – where the French artist currently resides - at San Stefano, Dupuis gets the blues. San Stefano Blues starts with an organ lead; a solo composition is abruptly paired with a sporadic drum line half way through the track, which flips the mood on its backside before the track ends.

L’Audace, Le Grand Chantier, and Safe are what remains of the album. L’Audace is French for 'the audacity'. We know, Rorik, Egyptians truly are audacious, but in a good way. Le Grand Chantier translates to 'the major project' or 'the master plan'. L'Audace’s bass line plays out on an organ; at this point we are way past any known territory of ambient jazz fusion – elements of jazz appear mostly on the piano lead, but the rest of the track takes us closer to experimental music.

Le Grand Chantier rallies off well into the realms of experimental electronic music – one shot samples, glitch sounds, and a vast soundscape with an inherently dystopian theme. The last track, Safe, revels in its own programmed chaos. A fast-paced kick drum paves the way towards a synth lead and a sub synth on backup. Piano takes over the lead, layered effortlessly. Safe helps take you out of the album, displaying artistic resiliency since it manages to leave you in a neutral state, unharmed by the huge emotional expanse that is Rorik Dupuis’ Marches égyptiennes.

Find and follow Rorik Dupuis on Bandcamp for more of his works.


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