I have been listening to Camille Bertault since I heard her Giant Steps cover “Là où tu vas.” Many french jazz singers oversimplify their genre and confine it into a repetitive style, Camille Bertault stands out with her innovative approach to jazz composition. Since I’ve heard both electronic additions, simple and slow acoustic pieces, and prodigious orchestral works of art from her, I didn’t know what to expect from Le Tigre, her latest album, released on 4 September 2020.
Bertault clearly decided to take a very playful route in this album, which is reflected onto the colorful album cover. “Todolist”, the first single from the album, is a very upbeat English song that I found off-putting at first, but learned to enjoy due to the fun sax and backing vocal additions. Quite a few of the songs include digital drums. The title track is one such example. It combines orchestral elements such as a brass and strings section with beautifully composed harmonic vocals and a trap drum beat. “Voyage en Haïku” is based on a 4/4 drum beat with such subdivisions that any prog drummer would be mesmerized. Similarly, “Je suis un arbre” and “A quoi bon” use incredible percussive movements interlaced with other instruments, which we more commonly call “a damn good groove.”
Quirky and creative additions like these are easy to discern; the subtle details in her more laid-back songs may, however, challenge the average listener. “There Is a Bird,” for example, uses odd verse lengths at a very slow tempo, effectively blending the creative decision into a soothing tone. “Je vieillis” uses classical elements and cleverly placed dissonance to highlight the disturbing nature of aging (‘Je vieillis’ = ‘I’m aging’). There are probably a million other things I couldn’t notice that adds to Bertault’s unique sound. I might have to update you guys every 100th listen, which at this rate, is going be in a couple of days.