Montreal husband and wife duo, Essaie Pas, found inspiration for their latest album in an odd place, an old Philip K. Dick novel. Anyone who has read A Scanner Darkly, published in 1977, will remember the paranoid, drug-addled lens through which its characters are shown — that same unsettling feeling is strewn throughout Essaie Pas' latest effort.
The record begins with the ominous pulse and creepy synth squiggles of "Les Aphides," and it's a dark ride from there on in. While "Les Aphides" is first on the album, "Les agents des stups" was actually recorded a couple of years before the rest, while the two were touring, which explains a lot. That track set the foundation for New Path, which contains some of their more club-ready material: it was born in the club after all. Following close suit is "Substance M," an eight-minute display of menacing techno. "Complet Brouillé" then serves as a funky antidote, with strange samples and vocals popping out of the woodwork at a moment's notice.
It's tricky reinterpreting a book into music as it is, but it's even doubly so for Essaie Pas, seeing as the feature film, A Scanner Darkly, already has its own soundtrack, which people no doubt associate with the characters and storyline. The tuneless guitar twang that's used throughout the movie and the little scraps of Radiohead tracks on offer have nothing on New Path though. All we need now is some devoted fan with editing skills to paste in the soundtrack that the movie deserves. (DFA)