Tout Seul is an album that had the potential to be pretentious. That it avoids pretension and seems instead intelligent, exploratory, and heartfelt, is a tribute to the musician.
Tout Seul dans la Forêt en Plein Jour starts off as relaxed and expansive as Rothko (the band, not the painter who committed suicide and was therefore probably not as relaxed as he would have liked), then mutates. Shamanic drums surface briefly. Later we hear from something that might be a tympani but you can't tell because the microphone has been set so close to the drum that the sound radiates distortion like electrified hair standing out around the head of someone holding a fork in a wall socket. Woelv illustrates the CD booklet with drawings that belong in a horror manga: babies in cages; young men and women in torn clothing collecting snot in plastic bags for reasons that pass unrevealed. As a musician she has a sure ear, navigating a delicate line between experimental noisemaking and the requirements of an ordinary song, something you might want to hum. The risks she takes (setting her whiskery, wavering voice against trumpets; multitracking drones) are artistically justified, never merely indulgent. Tout Seul is an album that had the potential to be pretentious. That it avoids pretension and seems instead intelligent, exploratory, and heartfelt, is a tribute to the musician.