There is something interesting about listening to music being preformed in a language that you don’t understand. The lyrics, rather than becoming the point of communication, the story, the message, are instead transformed into a mixture of instrumentation and emotion, still conveying feeling and mood but doing so at a more basic, intuitive level. Hip-hop has always been about the message, the word play and the lyrical dexterity but on occasions such as this it instead works on a more primal level creating atmosphere and instead of talking to the brain in direct terms communicates with the listeners soul via some sort of empathic osmosis.
Le Soleil Ne Brille Plus, which even with my limited French I think means something like The Sun Doesn’t Always Shine, is all you need to pick up the flavor of the song, the video and the lyrical mood will do the rest. But also the music behind the voice is suitably melancholy, a far cry from the usual bombastic nature of music coming from the hip-hop quarter. It plays with restraint and understatement, the beats are sparse, the music a deft mix of electronic washes, brooding bass drones and some lovely fluid jazz guitar wandering around just on the edge of the song.
So Novia may prove to be the master of deconstruction but the main thing that he uses to piece his musical building blocks back together, the musical glue if you like, is space. It is the atmosphere, the gap between the beat, the things which aren’t played, the mid song breakdown and the pause between the lyrics, or in my case the lack of direct communication, which make it all work so well. Many musicians believe the most powerful form of communication is to get up front and in the listeners face… or at least in their ears but Le Soleil Ne Brille Plus shows that less is most definitely more and that absorbing music by empathic osmosis is equally…no, make that so much more effective.