Over the course of three decades of passionate activism, both in his groups Prohibition and NLF3, and his ensuing Don Nino solo project, Nicolas Laureau has perfected his eminently person approach to making music as open as it is heartfelt, powered by hints of rock that conjure an intense emotional charge.
His latest album, the sixth as Don Nino, was written and recorded during two special summer months hidden away in the Normandy countryside, a pastoral setting that influence the tone of the album – both rough and tender – in numerous ways.
While the lost link between man and nature provided the guiding theme, the deep tissue of Rhapsody For The Dead Butterfliesis also the product of its creator’s quest for something more intimate.
With ten tracks serving as chapters in an introspective journey, the album follows an arc drawn tightly between two bitter extremities, namely the opening plaintive prayer of Oh Small Worldand the chilling conclusion of The Guys From The Company. From one point to the other, we discover fascinating personal confessions (No Yin No Jing), martial epitaphs (Rhapsody), deceptive calms (Pointing Out) and stormy insomnia (Another Sleepless Night). All have an insistent rhythmic underpinning, finely-crafted guitarwork oscillating between fiery and serene, and the fragile yet firm vocals of Nicolas Laureau, seemingly playing with our senses as much as his own emotions.
The dead butterflies of the title, blinded by the light, may well represent our vacillating humanity, searching for its rightful place within a fragile equilibrium, somewhere between the consciousness of its own past, the ephemeral present and the many many possibilities of the future.
It is in this context then that Rhapsody For The Dead Butterfliesoffers a philosophical-slash-poetic warning, remarkably condensed and strikingly relevant.
Out 29th March 2019 on CD and download on Prohibited Records.
Picture © Céline Guillerm