Marianne Dissard – L’Entredeux

January 01, 1970

(Trop Expres Music)


First, some context: Marianne Dissard moved from France to
Phoenix as a teenager; later, while in film school in L.A., she began a
documentary about Howe Gelb and Giant Sand. That project, 1994’s Drunken Bees, led her to fall in with
Tucson’s arts community, as a poet and filmmaker. Her lyrics turned up on Giant
Sand and Calexico albums, and she sang on the latter’s The Hot Rail. For L’Entredeux,
her debut, Dissard wrote the lyrics-in French-and Calexico’s Joey Burns wrote
the music and produced. With John Convertino on drums, L’Entredeux (The In-Between) is a de facto Calexico collaboration.


It’s a moody, captivating album, with roots in Nick Drake’s
introspection, Francoise Hardy’s romanticism and Nina Simone’s drama. Like
Keren Ann, Dissard blends the breathy intimacy and measured melancholy of
French chanson with an au courant attention to texture and detail. If Calexico’s desert mariachi is arid (in the
best way), Burns’ work on L’Entredeux is humid: strings that sweep and swell, precisely recorded acoustic
finger-picked acoustic guitars that contrast with Dissard’s murmured voice,
slightly deepened with reverb. Gorgeous ballads like “Flashback” and “Les
Confettis” dominate, but the album isn’t monochromatic: “Les Draps Sourds”
bustles with tremolo guitar (courtesy of Dissard’s ex-husband, Naim Amor),
sidewalk café-style accordion and a muted oom-pah rhythm; “Trop Expres” grooves
to a sixties-style organ and restrained but funky backbeat. The Calexico
connection may initially draw some listeners, but they’ll stay because L’Entredeux is in its own right
beautiful and coherent, understated and entrancing.


Standout tracks: “Merci De Rien Du Tout,” “Les Confettis” 








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