David Lemaitre - 'Valediction'
"Something is only complete; not when nothing can be added anymore, but when nothing can be removed" – David Lemaitre
This philosophy underpins Lemaitre's song-writing process and permeates his debut EP 'Valediction' thus providing the listener with five tracks of understated lo-fi introspective beauty reminiscent of Elliot Smith and Ben Gibbard of The Postal Service.
Bought up in Bolivia on South American musical fodder it wasn't until David moved to Europe and his collision with the understated styles of Nick Drake and 70's progressive electronica that he truly found his unique musical style. At times breathtaking, at others entrancing; Lemaitre has fallen into a tight niche and blown it wide open with maturity beyond his years and a grace born of a multitude of musical experiences. 'Valediction' signifies his split with his past life and immersion in the popular culture of the west though ironically it is this divide that proves to be the cohesive element in his music lending it added depth and inspiration.
Opening track '6 Years' is an ode to those he's left behind in La Paz and is tinged with nostalgia and a lilting salsa ritmo that is quintessentially Latino whilst the track remains the product of Trans-Atlantic influences. Noteworthy are the weeping violins that accompany the vocals and digitalised castanets that serve as the foundation for Lemaitre's lyrics and are integral to the feeling of longing for a land six years past.
'The Incredible Airplane Party' follows and at just over 3 minutes as opposed to its 5 minute predecessor is less imbued with Lemaitre's Latin influences and is more of a slice of good old lo-fi melt in the mouth harmonies backed by swirling digital atmospherics. In my opinion a little short to really make its presence felt, but beautifully crafted nonetheless.
'Jacques Cousteau' is a master class in creating a piece of artistry from many different parts, from the crowing female harmonies that interject at perceived random to the softly plucked guitar and the choral lament of "nothing's right it seems". Back to over 5 minutes in length (as are the remaining tracks) there is an undeniably progressive element to this artist's work, which sets it apart from the more commercial fodder one comes across and displays a purity to Lemaitre's creative output that is second to none.
However one criticism would be the undeniable hint of patented EMO 'woe is me' to the EP that is no better exemplified than in the bordering on orchestral Anthony & The Johnson-esque vocals of 'In Your Sweet Way', the tone of which borders on the whining of a self-harming teenager.
'Valediction' is seemingly an exercise in exorcising the artists' demons relating to his split from his homeland wrapped in paean to a girl that verges on preaching. Beyond that the track is a dreamy smoke-filled five minutes whose sound is best highlighted by the opening lines "Sleepwalk in a daydream/ full of things that should have happened". 'Valediction' is truly emotive coming from an artist desperate to let go of his self-doubt with the repetition of the lyrics "let it go". In addition this universal theme will no doubt reverberate with its' listeners and with it packaged in such beautiful vocal simplicity and artistry it is one of the strongest tracks on the EP.
With 'Valediction' David Lemaitre has truly set the standard for lo-fi dream-pop and with his rich musical history it goes beyond what most artists could dream of.
With his opening line being "I just came to say hello", here's to hoping that he's here to stay.