The Hunter Ranges over the Text of Your Teenage Dreams
“i’m always getting lost around here,” warns Mathieu Lescop as we wander in the shade of the towers of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the iron-and-glass mausoleum-conceit, where compiled are six centuries of French printed culture. Yet, the paper empire doesn’t seem to trouble the 33-year-old
, here stretches against the drudgery of the air, his fief’s sadness. And despite a dream-son-in-law
and a toddler’s cheeks, beware his foot speed, his intent. He’s gonna chase you, he’s gonna corner and get you.
Lescop is a hunter, a crafty pop-genius sounding out your own intimate story. He knows you shamefully cried watching Top Gun, he knows you werealone in the dark, that you were chewing helplessly on the corner of your pillow high on speed at the end of the Spring semester of your senior year, that you had sex in the backseat of an ‘88 Taurus wagon, listening to a crackling tape of Joy Division. Distantly, howls are sounding. Lurking in the forest, the translucent beast awaits you.
On his first solo album, the eponymous Lescop, with London-based label, Pop Noire Records (out on October 1st) is a track race from Paris to Los Angeles, from Ljubljana to Tokyo, places the hunter lived and mastered the skills of a lethal empathy. “Be like water,” he says casually, gaze tracking the couples walking by the river, “change your shape endlessly, fit in all the vases, all the cavities.”
Lescop’s pop is a slow effect poison It melts the synapses, connects the references. Breathlessly, images flash to the rhythm of overwhelming guitar riffs of his beaters John and Jehn, another French duo exiled in London. The glistening nights of Paris and the burning sun on Santa Monica compose the scenery of an indeterminate elsewhere, territory of dream and death, limned by the near waking mind.
Que le mal soit beau, Lescop sings in French—not a commodity considering how tremendously choosy his fellows are—but Molière’s tongue discards its pretension for meaning and discussion, to rank amongst the space of the oneiric sonorities. “Understanding the lyrics can’t be the core of the musical emotion. The universe is not inhabited with poets but we all have so many ways to lose it totally through a sound or a voice. As a kid I couldn’t understand a single word of Jim Morrison’s songs, yet his voice captivated me, I could see myself walking along Venice Beach.” Language is the medium through which the torpor will creep over your soul, ô sweet French venom. Language is the music of non-language.
You wobble, bound and unbound, as the eleven tracks unwind you. Lescop's presence gathers itself like a liquid, drips, intensifying, down your spine. Phlegmatic, he lies in wait for the last dance, when one collapses irretrievably into the empire of a blind sensitivity. Then blood can be spilled, cruelty arises. “You don›t have to trigger a riot for violence to emerge in music. Violence is infinitely more delicate and refined. My songs get their freedom as soon as I’ve sung them, and that›s what strikes you the most afterwards. They became yours and at the end, you just see yourself in the mirror.” The hunter burbles in your neck, the cold contact of the raw metal on skin. Fascination turns to dementia. As the golden pavilion burns to ashes, in the forest a lightning tears the darkness. Lescop’s not visible, but he’s here.
Photography: Louis Canadas at LouisCanadas.fr.
Styling: Hala Moawad.