Moteur! is a French avant-prog band who released its debut self-titled album almost exactly a year ago. En traits libres is their most recent output, and it makes some changes on the basic formula. First of all, the band is now totally instrumental, and I can’t say I miss the vocals of their first opus; moving them out was a wise move. Secondly, the then-trio welcomes Yacine Rabia on bass guitar and becomes a full-fledged quartet! That adds a layer of sound, something that wasn’t really lacking, but that is nonetheless appreciated.
The band favours completely improvised journeys to written music. Therefore, En traits libres is made from four uncut and unedited improvisations, totalling just over thirty minutes of weird, dissonant, and directionless music. I think that the prime goal of Moteur! is simply to play and see what results from anarchy, a sort of self-ordering chaos. The tracks are weird, off-putting, dissonant, and makes no heads nor tails. In that sense, it is a vibrant success! The songs seem to be in constant disequilibrium, and the slightest push of one musician or another will guide it towards a new direction; as everyone seems super-aware of everyone else, the feeling of cohesion remains, and it never feels like a disjointed piece.
Moteur! certainly challenges the listener on En traits libres, but, if you can manage to stay, you’re certain to have a good time.