Descending from the Toulousian post-hardcore scene, Romain Barbot and Gregory Buffier have produced more than a dozen tormented ambient-drone records under the name Saåad, such as the remarkable Deep Float (Hands In The Dark, 2014). Upon invitation of the local Les Orgues festival, giving them access to the Puget organ located in the Church of Notre-Dame de la Dalbade, they composed an original creation that In Paradisum is proud to publish under the form of the album Verdaillon.
Through dynamics of elevation, suspension and tension, Saåad’s music reaches altered states. Consisting of thick patches of sound, it gathers powerful harmonies and buries them under samples of the world’s rustling sounds. The sources are rarely identifiable, which makes for the singularity to each record.
Verdaillon goes against the lyrical outbursts that are familiar to a certain register of ambient music, and towards an extremely rare quality of dynamic and detail. The record’s singular and discreet beauty is due to the organ in all of its most secular aspects, and to a certain « something in the air » of that particular place, on those particular days. The finale of Vorde provides the key to the record: it takes the listeners back to the instrument’s origins, at a time when the spiritual was part of ordinary life.
Based on the French duo’s 2017 live setup and improvised sets, their new album, Présence Absente, is the quintessence of their music: raw, deep, murky, fascinating. The band’s sound and experimental songwriting have matured over the course of their albums, and with this new offering we feel that they have truly blossomed both in form and in content.
1: The Earth’s rotation speed is gradually slowing.
2: A housefly hums in the key of F
3: In 418 The Visigoths chose Toulouse as their capital city, ending Roman power over this city.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Life. The place where I am, the moment when I create are very important. An in-situ inspiration. I like to create my own secret mythology around it. For the previous Saåad’s records it was a valley, a house, a room, the confluence of two rivers, a church, a city …
2. How and when did you get into making music?
I was lucky to grow up with parents who listened to music everyday. My father is a big rock fan and has a very large collection of records. My life changed the day he came back with the CD of Nevermind by Nirvana . I was 11/12 year old and I still feel the blast I had when I listened to the first seconds of « Breed ». I started to learn guitar few months after that when someone showed me how to play a Nirvana song in less than an hour of practice. I started a band 3 months after and then never stopped since.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
I hate this kind of question because I can spend hours trying to chose.
Tonight I stopped on
« The Dead Man’s Soundtrack » by Neil Young
« And Never Ending Nights » by Loops Of Your Heart
All the albums by Breach from « It’s Me God » to « Kollapse »
« In Utero » by Nirvana
« Constant Hitmaker » by Kurt Vile
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
I visit this city quite often because a big part of my wife’s family is living there. I love its more popular and alternative side, all the trees, parks and unique place like the Tempelhof Park. I’m fascinated by the Wim Wenders movie « Wings of Desire » and I always think about it when in Berlin. There’s also the showroom-boutique Schneidersladen which is a kind of dream place for people like me who are using Eurorack modular synthesizers. By chance it’s very close from my step-dad’s place.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Any kind of creative art. Building useless & useful things, drawing, writing, painting.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
The vinyl edition of Charlen Cohen « Brother I Prove You Wrong » on Morphine Records
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
It would be much easier for me to make a list of a 100 names than to pick just one. Like for records, I could spend hours trying to choose… Deathprod, Ged Gengras, Jon Porras & Evan Caminiti, Angelo Badalamenti. All together for a FRKWYS release by RVNG ?
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
It’s really more exciting when you’re performing. The craziest was certainly a show in Waldassen (Germany) with my previous band I Pilot Dæmon and our friends of Anything But Yours. It was the end of our first European Tour in 2007 and we were playing in a small club full of people. It was a total chaos and the stage was a real mess after our performances. We almost fought with the owner but it was the fiercest show I ever done. There’s also our performance at Echoes festival with Saåad, or the FOUDRE! live recording of the Earth’s soundtrack in the Church of Saint Merri.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
It has been very important because for years we didn’t have much hardware. It started to slowly change when Greg joined the band because I wanted to do shows. We are not rich and it took us time to buy instruments and effects.
I think that we can do a record without technology … only a bit for a microphone and battery. A record made of field recordings and with acoustic « instruments ». Gregory is already using a lot of various objects like bowls, glasses, a typewriter machine, a broken grandfather clock on a metal plate send into his rack of pedals via a piezo microphone. You can try « acoustic laptop » in google and you’ll see the concept. For the new album, we also used an harmonica and a shruti box, and of course a bunch of hardware synths and effects. It’s the first time there’s no computer involved in the creative process.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
Yes, a younger brother. We are quite close, despite the fact that he moved to New York almost 10 years ago. Music is definitely a strong bond between us. He used to play drums in a band and grew up listening more or less to the same bands as me. Many of our friends are musicians, so he definitely respects and follows my career. Music is a tough career to pursue, which is unfortunately why he doesn’t play anymore (he’s a neuroscientist).
To Listen: soundcloud.com/player
Photo by Grégoire Orio