The exploration of humanity in its most raw, physical, and emotional form drives DANCEHALL, the first full offering from Paris-based duo The Blaze. Weaving together ideas of community, movement, joy, and despair through sundrenched sounds, the album fosters a discussion on what’s essential to life.
It opens with soft repeated chords and the guttural chant that has become somewhat of the essential element in the duo’s music. That unique voice is at the center of the society shaped on DANCEHALL. It is the call to prayer, uniting the concepts and ideas of the community. On the following track, “HEAVEN”, the discussion focuses on trust and surrender and the elements of love and freedom that extend from that agreement. “Trust in me, and set me free,” sing the duo aligning the ideas that form much of the base of Western religion, but also the nature of a good relationship.
The Blaze, is made up of cousins Guillaume and Jonathan Alric, 36 and 29 respectively. They released their debut single “Virile” in January 2016, and followed that up with their debut EP, Territory, in 2017, but it was the creation of a music video that originally brought them together. Jonathan was in film school, Guillaume was producing his own take on dub, the former asked the later to help him with a music video project, and the rest is history.
Video was part of the band’s construction, and they have once again delivered a number of sensual clips for this LP, but, most of the music here is left to stand on its own. It’s a brave move for a group whose visual component was so strong, unique, and intricately woven into the their ethos. The move to focus on music has helped the duo establish their sound.
Each track on DANCEHALL grows, the sound’s getting bigger, layers getting added, muscles forming. Rhythmic drums, swirling synths, pulsing beats, and bright, repeated chords form the muscular system that the album moves on. In it, the beauty and brutality of muscular movement, tendons snapping into action, stretching, pulling, ripping, building and constructing, is visualized. The human body in action is a symphony of the precisest order. Despite the challenges and pain of construction, the forming and disintegration of life and relationships, the music reminds that the act is beauty.
The duo’s music is visual and physical, but it’s also societal. It brings together animalistic nature and sensual humanity, painting an intricate mosaic of genetic composition. Togetherness and community are the commonalities that have driven civilization to its current place, no matter how divided. That communal shared concept is what DANCEHALL explores.
“DANCEHALL is not be confused with the sound specific of the Jamaican genre,” explains a statement from the band. “But is instead a tribute to the scene itself, which originated in the 1940’s. The dance hall was created from a desire to simply come together and party, at a time when the only way to listen to your favorite artist was to come together in such a way. This was a place where people lived, loved and danced.”
DANCEHALL desires to bring people together to experience something that is human and communicative, but also individual… the action of dance. It’s not trite or hackneyed. Dance is essential to the mosaic of human experience, blending together movement, emotion, communication and individualism. The Blaze create dance music, the kind that explores that nature of its own self. That might be the most beautiful and honest part of the experiment.
HURRY – LISTEN – THE BLAZE MUSIC