Music Review: Klo Pelgag's NDD7D
In 2020, at 30 years old, Chloé Pelletier-Gagnon ♓︎ released her third major EP titled "Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs. This highly muscial twelve-track album was released with twelve videos showing the lyrics in the foreground of beautiful scenes of Quebec in the winter.
You can buy her new album at https://found.ee/KloPelgag-NDD7D.
Why Am I Listening to Klo Pelgag?
I don't know a ton of French, but learning French is a hobby of mine. One of my favorite ways to learn French is to read song lyrics while listening to music: both hemispheres of my brain work away to learn new vocabulary. I found Klô Pelgag's 2013 L'alchimie des monstres last year and I've listened to whole thing dozens of times. Klô Pelgag's music is composed in a way that you don't need to know French to get a feel for what the songs are about
The 12 song, 42-minute album Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs begins with an airy, ambient, and adventurous track. The sound of trains and creaking sailboats can be heard while some chords set the mood for the next 40 minutes.
The second track, Rémora, has a driving guitar progression at the start. Then, an absolutely heavenly horn track hoists you high into the clouds, only to be brought back to the driving guitar progression. The next thematic change of the song follows in an opposite dimension, going deep into a cave where the sounds of cymbals and tambourine and tom-toms clamors chaotically. It sounds like Klô Pelgag sings "I crushed the world" right when the chaos is defeated and the trumpets sound the return of a warrior.
The third track, Umami, sounds somewhat like a mix between Fleetwood Mac and Glee. Klô Pelgag stays on the light-and-driving jam for most of the song without any euphoric or depressive mood change. Instead, about halfway through the song, the listener is submerged into a zen experience. I would consider the vibe here to be a rebirth or baptismal sort of thing.
J'aurai les cheveux longs is very Klô-Pelgag. Voice is paired with high strings on top of a piano rhythm. The song ebbs and flows in and out of that heavenly feelings from the first transition in Rémora. This one really brings the emotions outta me. At the halfway point of this track, a really nice spacey-sounding melody comes in. Be right back, I'm feeling musically inspired. Okay, back from playing my tenor saxophone for the first time in months.
The spacey-sounding tremolo pads come back strong on À l'ombre des cyprès. Now the listener is floating in space. One-minute into the song, a well enunciated "j'aimerais" greets you, which means something like a wishful "I would like". The song swaps the "spacey-sounds" out for a piano tapping eighth notes. Strings finish the song out strong. The spacey sounds come back too, but they’re now lively and spritely.
La fonte: "tu ne peux pas comprendre". Very easy vocabulary on the sixth song. As a novice French speaker, I can understand Klô Pelgag's excellent annunciation. I think that Klô Pelgag's annunciation makes her music incredibly approachable to non-native French speakers. Something that a lot of people that come to Quebec probably appreciate. This sixth song is a vocal piano ballad.
The seventh song Solei has serious sunrise-vibes to it. I imagine being on clouds surrounded by the cool fog of dry-ice in water slowly getting blown around by the breeze. The horn sounds make me think of majestic rayons du Soleil touching my skin. At the end of the song, a storm cloud is clearly coming through.
I think it was a mistake to not have ambient rain during the eighth song Für Élise. Considering that other songs in the album have ambient sounds. The introduction of an acoustic guitar would make me think of being under a rustic shelter on a rainy day. There is a gong that occasionally rings among baroque sounds. Kind of a downer of a tune. Not my favorite. Reminds me of a lonely nights on a hill.
The ninth song, Mélamine, puts the listener back on a pulsing driving force. This is a stressful and angsty song! The sounds on this track are varied. They include uncomfortable vocals and 8-bit arcade sounds. The song ends in some distorted guitar and uncomfortable vocals.
The tenth song Où vas-tu quand tu dors ? or “where do you go when you’re sleeping” starts with a dolby-digital riser sound and then the drum beat comes in and the listener is swept up into some technological futuristic with a cool poppy u-u---- chant. The end of this track sounds like it came out of The BQE by Sufjan Stevens.
The penultimate song of the album is highly instrumental and called La maison jaune and has a nice choral rhythm. This song has a similar ebb and flow of J'aurai les cheveux longs. There is quite a lot of tension at the end of this song with lots of purposeful dissonance reminding the listener of the nightmarish undertones of Mélamine.
The final song, Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs II, features another dolby-digital-surround-sound riser that fades out after a minute. Then the sound of an imperfect piano plays and I finally get to hear the ambient rain sound that I wanted to hear in Für Élise. This final song fades out and the listener is left wondering what the album was about.