Touching – I Can Be Two People At Once (ENG review)

Head In The Sand Records – Available
Jazz, Pop
Touching - I Can Be Two People At Once

Europeans listening to the first track of this album will have the sensation of hearing an artist like Dick Annegarn, and it is true that the two universes are close because Touching (his real name) is just like Dick Annegarn, a great musician and a lover of lyrics, one sings in French, the other in English, but the inspirations are quite similar. Drawing from a wide range of new sources (Jazz/pop/rock), transforming his artistic journey with the new album I Can Be Two People At Once.
The album was mixed by Ryan Dahle, a musician/ producer based in British Columbia and a member of Mounties & Limblifter. Ryan’s recent collaborations with jazz adventurer Donny McCaslin and pop/rock legacy (Mother Mother, k-os, Hot Hot Heat) were the perfect balance to realize Michael’s ambitious vision for this new album. Of course, this album is very different from what we usually offer. While he was artistic director for the Jazz Winnipeg festival before the pandemic, Michael fell in love with some of the most adventurous aspects of modern jazz. He saw a quite pronounced punk spirit in the reckless abandon displayed by artists like Donny McCaslin, Shabaka Hutchings, Pino Palladino, and the band Portishead. So his new goal was simple: to do the opposite of what he used to do.
Deeply intellectual, each track, far beyond any expectation, is a reflection on many themes. One must also note a form of overall staging involving Laura Smith and Andrew Braun of Rococode to contribute, giving a boost to Feeling Swell, Cauldron, and Blue Shoes, alias Dirty Linen by David Duchovny. He invited New York singer Olive Louise to participate in the process, bringing Ocean Of Smiles to life. His longtime friend and acclaimed jazz drummer based in New York, Curtis Nowosad (Braxton Cook), quickly joined the battle. None of these personalities are there for mere decoration; they highlight certain lyrics, certain musical forms, offering the listener an almost spatial journey, at least on a sonic level.
The sound, precisely let’s talk about it, because one can consider the sound of this album as a co-author, because to realize his vision, Michael turned to Ryan Dahle, sound engineer and musician. The two quickly became symbiotic partners, sharing a similar ethos towards the creative process: open, connected, trusting the special spirit that can weave through an artist, if they can let the music guide them.
The result is something strangely raw and special. I Can Be Two People At Once navigates through 12 tracks drawn on whimsical courses between jazz and indie rock. Sometimes one can even have fun with certain titles like “Blue Shoes Aka David Duchovny’s Dirty Linen”. An experience, a discovery that questions and from our point of view makes this album “essential”.

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move and ABS magazine
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, March 17th 2024


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