[8 May 2014]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Italian trio Chat Noir is one of those groups that, for better or worse, find themselves caught between genres. Their sound is too electronic to be called jazz, too post-rock-jazzy to be considered purely electronic, and too mellow and sometimes ambient to be labeled as “fusion”. So the best way to approach their style is to let go of every one of those labels because Elec3cities is one terrific release. Playing out like an urban rainy day broadcast from a distance, these eight tracks pulse through many a miniature movement in an ascent to high art. Some tracks are the splice of two ideas, though Elec3cities never turns desperate or meandering. It begins with the fusion equivalent of a chant, (“Avant Buddha”), slinks through the night (“Chelsea High Line”) then falls into a deep sleep in the parlor (“Pearls”) so that it may save energy for the mysterious centerpiece (“Radio Show”). Chat Noir have packed so much music and emotion into just 44 minutes that one could worry that they may never pull it off again. Here’s to hoping that this keyboard-bass-drum-and-occasional-guitar group haven’t reached their limit already.