Ensemble Sacrés Garçons “Demonization: These Worldly Powers” CD
Ensemble Sacrés Garçons is a post-industrial band that was formed in 1994, by Paolo L. Bandera (Sshe Retina Stimulants, Sigillum S, The Sodality, Iugula-Thor, etc.), Andrea Chiaravalli (Iugula-Thor), both from Milan, and Mark Solotroff (Anatomy of Habit, BLOODYMINDED, The Fortieth Day, Intrinsic Action, etc.), from Chicago. “Demonization: These Worldly Powers” is the band’s second album. It contains seven songs that are characterized by dense foundations of magnetic tape processing, spectral analog synth, and layers of opposing vocals.
CD version of our second album, packaged in a four-panel digipak. Includes select art elements from the LP version, presented in a new color orientation.
1. I'm Your Nightmare (3:34)
2. Death Inflates (3:28)
3. Velocity (5:32)
4. Devil's Still On That Seat (4:25)
5. Voice Stealing (4:47)
6. Dead Band (7:50)
7. Suffers (3:44)
Andrea, Paolo, and I are very pleased to finally release the new album by our group, Ensemble Sacrés Garçons. We’ve been anticipating it for a long time… for over 25 years, in fact. We recorded our debut in 1994, in Brooklyn, at Bass Mind Studio. Andrea and I got to work utilizing recordings that Paolo had prepared in Milan, in advance. Megan Emish from Intrinsic Action/BLOODYMINDED produced those studio sessions for us. It was released on CD by the Italian label Old Europa Café in 1995.
We decided to start on our follow up, right away. To begin, Paolo again prepared material on analog tape, which he brought to Brooklyn, in 1995. I then manipulated these recordings in the manner of the SCTL (Source Control) style that I used on multiple Intrinsic Action releases. Roughly eight months later, after I completed my mix, Megan mastered the album for CD, at Acme Soundworks, NYC.
As 1996 continued on, Andrea, Paolo, and I considered and discussed the results. I think we all new that there was great material on the DAT master, but across the 12 songs and 70+ minute running time, it began to feel somewhat impenetrable. Amidst its thick walls of synth noise, tape distortion, and destroyed vocals, it was lacking in the appealing immediacy of its raw and primitive sounding predecessor. Time passed, and every so often, the three of us would discuss resurrecting the recordings, doing some judicious editing, and preparing to release it.
Finally, in 2018, a solid plan was put together. Paolo would focus on adding some minimal yet dynamic synth, I would write new lyrics, and Andrea and I would take a new and more direct approach to our vocals. In April of 2019, studio time was booked at Soundcheck Studio in Milan, and I flew there to record and to perform at our debut live show. I believe that our concert was particularly important, because it further solidified Ensemble Sacrés Garçons as more than a collaboration and more than a many-years-long series of face-to-face visits, video chats, emails, and faded out faxes. It felt like we really functioned as a band. During the recording sessions, Andrea and I were focused on our vocals, while Paolo was working his magic in the control room with the engineer, Matteo Pace. By the time I returned to Chicago, we knew that the tremendous chemistry of that week, grounded in our long friendship, had given us just what we needed to complete the album.
Paolo then got to work on his final synth tracks, as well as the challenging process of mixing the album. After just a couple of rounds of mixes, we knew that we were ready. But the album still seemed too long, especially if we were going to move forward with releasing it on vinyl. Our next step was to consider whether we had two solid albums, and if so, how we might divide the twelve songs between them. This actually turned out to be easier than we thought it would be, and two discrete albums materialized with very little effort.
We then sent the songs for the first LP to Collin Jordan at The Boiler Room, in Chicago, and we were thrilled with the results of his mastering work. As we were putting our plan together for the LP, the global pandemic hit and things slowed down again. We decided to use a relatively new pressing plant in Chicago, Smashed Plastic, which was doing some great work on albums that I’d heard. Once they were able to reopen their facilities our album went into the queue. After a few months, we had our vinyl in-hand. Staying local, we also decided to have a Chicago printer and friend – Erin Page/Kill Hatsumomo – screen print the sleeves that we designed. The three of us simply couldn’t be happier with the final outcome, especially after all of these years that have passed. As for the future, we’re already discussing plans for our third album, “Sanctification: Seeing the Singularity”...
(Mark Solotroff, February 2021)