Without any big announcements or major-label support, Sylvain Chauveau emerged in the early 2000s as one of France's most interesting figures. His solo albums and projects Micro:Mega and Arca have ties to the post-rock sound of the late ‘90s, but Chauveau refines the recipe, dropping the "jamming" associated with the style while retaining its melancholia, creating large-scale works out of humble parts, cinematic albums out of fragments of cello and piano melodies. His first solo CD, Le Livre Noir du Capitalisme, came out in 2000.
Chauveau started out in the Toulouse alt-rock/post-rock outfit Watermelon Club. Formed in 1994, it released two compilation tracks, a couple of singles, a 7" EP, and one full-length album, [Str:m] in 1997. A year later, disappointed by a certain lack of commitment from the other members of the group and eager to earn a living with his music, the young Chauveau asked Frédéric Luneau, a guitarist and electronician who engineered some of Watermelon Club's sessions, to join him in a new project. Christened Micro:Mega (following one of Voltaire's stories), the duo aimed for a form of ambient rock influenced by Labradford, but less "shoegazing." Their debut CD, Photosphere, was released in 1999 by Noise Museum and, although only a first step, received much critical acclaim in Europe and America. The release of Human on Alice in Wonder the next year consolidated their underground success.
Between the two Micro:Mega albums, Chauveau slipped in his first solo CD, Le Livre Noir du Capitalisme. Deeply personal and high on emotion, it received little attention from the press, but that didn't stop the artist from preparing a follow-up. The release of Nocturne Impalpable in October 2001 marked Chauveau's signing to the influential French new music label Disques du Soleil et de l'Acier and was accompanied by the debut album from a new project, this one with Joan Cambon: Arca. As Micro:Mega's third opus, Annex, came out in 2002, DSA made Le Livre Noir du Capitalisme more widely available. ~ François Couture