‘Pathless March’ x ‘Seance’ is a piece of music I started writing last winter on the west coast of France. Both movements were supposed to be rhythmless back then, but it changed when, wandering in the port city of St Nazaire with my brother – who took the pictures for this – and trying to hide from the storm outside that day, I found myself in a very special place. Facing the sea, standing out from the massive industrial shipyard that encloses it, the massive submarine base immediately caught our attention. We were so captivated we spent the whole day there, hanging and exploring every corner of the building, reimagining its story and trying to understand how it could have been used over the years.

Its architecture and historical background suddenly kind of reflected the mood of the music. Built during WW2 by the German, it was used for its strategic position, near the estuary. It was a fence. A frontier. Physically and symbolically. Citizens had strictly no access to it. The German were keeping it private and secret. It was a menacing, horribly aggressive building to many people, but also an occasional refuge of its own kind. The contrast between the wild natural shores encircling the city and the base’s enormous artificial walls is striking and deeply affected my writing at that time.

The two tracks were lacking drums and I finally decided to rewrite the whole thing and record percussions and vocal impros inside the base, in the largest room, spontaneously, aiming to bring bits of the unique atmosphere and vibe of this timeless building into the songs. I also explored the surroundings and recorded the sound of the wind in the rocky inlets around the construction. All the field recordings were made very quickly and my brother tried to capture the particular moment when I was immortalizing the building’s breath and heartbeats. Most of these recordings are raw and were left untreated. The sounds surface in the tracks just as they were heard for the first time.

I’ve always loved being taught about my favorite artists’ tips and work habits. So what follows is a mixture of photographs we took on our trip, found pictures of the place, maps, drawings and notes that I thought would make an accurate statement to accompany these two songs. Hope you enjoy. S/HS