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Album Review

Trumpeter and St. Germain associate Pascal Ohsé is the cool cat behind Soel, a graceful and deep project that does the usual jazz/electronica blending with more heart and soul than expected, but not much in the way of new. A casual listen might have you thinking Memento is a Thievery Corporation record or a collection of St. Germain's more down tracks, but there's a couple differences. First is Soel's obvious desire to not sprawl across every type of black music. There's no reggae here and the slick sound of house music is only lightly dusted on some cuts. The other difference is Soel's attention to details. Memento is filled with tracks so well structured that headphones are necessary to catch everything. Layers of lazily strolling riffs and crisp production touches reward full-attention listening, but with rock-solid grooves, Memento also works just fine in the background. "Le Vicomte" combines the pleasing sound of A Day in the Life-era Wes Montgomery with the quirky fun of the Bill Cosby/Quincy Jones cut "Hikky-Burr" while "To This World" sounds like Massive Attack's "Unfinished Symphony" even more unfinished. This bouncing between the outgoing and barely there works due to producer Ludovic Navarre's great pacing of the album as he drops loopy, more clubby tracks between Funkadelic-type sprawls and cerebral, narrated numbers. Last Poet samples and Latin music as seen through the eyes of War are the final ingredients in this indigo soup of sound and if there's a bummer to be had, it's that Ohsé is lost among it all. Fans of his trumpet playing are going to find very little of it, and you get the impression he's more of a conductor with his back to the audience. That's fine since so many other genre-blending, cutting-edge, "look at me" albums have tripped over their own ambition. Memento just wants to "be," preferably at 4 a.m., in the rainy morning, sitting under the On the Corner poster, at the coolest after-hours club in town.

Customer Reviews

Songs to add to the Soundtrack of your life...

All I have to say is that Shaft would definitely have this album in his library... I am adding several tracks to my life's eclectic soundtrack...

So true, person leaving the review before me...

This is an album that will listen to for the rest of my life (and pass on to many friends).


Not at all what I expected from a St Germain protege'. The 6 track album is nice, I like it, but "My Singing Soul" and "The Way U R" towers over the rest of the songs in such a way that it almost makes them disappointing. Those 2 tracks are hot like fire!!! My advice would be listen to them last so you can judged the other song without bias.


Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s

The way trumpeter Pascal Ohsé sees it, R&B, soul, and jazz are "the closest thing we have to a universal musical language." The longtime St. Germain associate also believes it is a language that needs an update once in a while, something his Soel project set out to do from the start. Touring with the jazz and electronica-blending St. Germain meant Ohsé had access to St. Germain leader Ludovic Navarre's enormous collection of vintage vinyl. Digging dusty grooves during the day and playing contemporary,...
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Memento, Soel
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Customer Ratings