FORÊT ENDORMIE - Étire Dans Le Ciel Vide LP
Forêt Endormie is the genre-melding chamber ensemble led by guitarist and composer Jordan Guerette, known widely for his work with American black metal luminaries Falls of Rauros. Formed in 2016 in the "Forest City" of Portland, Maine, Forêt Endormie draws as much from the forms and fantasies of 20th century French composers Erik Satie and Olivier Messiaen, as they do the melancholic Neo-folk of Tenhi and Sol Invictus and heavy minimalism of drone pioneers Earth.
Their debut record Étire dans le ciel vide (French for "stretch into the empty sky") finds the band deep in a singular sonic world, both immersed in western classical tradition and entirely apart from it. The instrumental make-up of cello, violin, piano, vibraphone, electric guitar, and voices sets up infinite possibilities: delicate melodies, interwoven rhythms, and lush, ever-moving harmonies. This is music replete in unapologetic romanticism, but with complexity and intricacy that never protrudes through its melodicism. The pieces, while airy and full of light, move with mournful grace like the heavy-hearted doom and dark Americana found in Falls of Rauros' sui generis black metal. Throughout the record's eight tracks, there is a certain, inescapable weight-- the pieces delve into the omnipresent anxiety and isolation of modern life, through the words of 19th century poet Paul Verlaine, as well as Guerette's own-- yet an inexorable beauty, purity, and sense of hope is always shining through.
"Taking a break from his night job building jagged walls of distortion for the atmospheric black-metal band Falls of Rauros, Jordan Guerette has found a new way to indulge his penchant for methodical, naturalistic epics. Last October the guitarist and composer’s new band, Forêt Endormie, released its debut LP, pursuing a form of experimental chamber music that connects the dots between minimalist classical suites and droning black-metal dirges. Both styles require the restraint necessary to build tension, and the talent necessary to provide release. Employing cello, violin and vibraphone, Forêt Endormie toes this line with somber grace. This is patient music that doesn’t require patience to appreciate. The melodies mesmerize like a walk through a sleepy, enchanted forest; it’s the photonegative of Rauros’ dark and stormy nights. (To put this in terms the Tolkien-inspired Guerette may appreciate, he’s left Mirkwood for a vacation in Lothlórien.) Étire dans le ciel vide translates to “stretch into the empty sky,” and on tracks like “Meditations on Disquiet” it almost feels like we can follow that call to action. Guerette opens with a stately riff that unfurls quietly. When the cello and piano join in, our guards are down, and we can’t help it. We’re looking up."
— Joe Sweeney for The Bollard, Portland Maine