Rêverie: Lucid Blue Vinyl LPBCR138LPC2
Label: Big Crown Records
Release Date: 11th August
Luxury soul done by a celebrated Norwegian hip hop producer, it's that attention to the funk, to the SLAP, the beat, the break and then working backwards to make perfect soul, that touches that place, that swings and connects with something in your waters. I dunno, sounding like one of the best modern soul records we've heard all year.
For those who dig: Kelly Finnigan, Bobby Oroza, Holy Hive, El Michels Affair, Aaron Frazer...
Big Crown Records is proud to present the debut full length offering from Les Imprimés, Rêverie. The stirring and ethereal sounds of Les Imprimés have been making fans of anyone who hears them since their first 7” single hit the speakers. Morten Martens is the man behind the band. Born, raised, and working in Kristiansand, Norway, he keeps a low profile while making his heartfelt, highly infectious, and unique music. This album is a long time coming for Martens and it is sure to make him a name to be reckoned with.
The first thing you notice listening to Les Imprimés is the high level of musicianship. Martens plays nearly every instrument on the recordings and handles the production and arranging. He has been making records for decades, winning a Spellemann Award (aka, the Norwegian Grammy) in 2006 for producing a Hip Hop album as well as getting nominations across three other genres. While awards and accolades speak to the level of his talent, this new album really shows who he is as an artist on his own terms.
Moving away from being a hired gun on the touring scene naturally led him to start doing more studio work. Slowly collecting gear and getting more experience behind the boards he built his own studio on the island of Odderøya and was making a living playing with and recording other people's music. As the story goes, after those sessions would end he would work on his own project into the wee hours of the night. From these late night sessions, Les Imprimés was born and Rêverie began to take shape.
However, "it wasn't until COVID, when things locked down, that I was really able to find the time to focus on Les Imprimés" Morten says about creating and leading his own solo project. "It was a scary time. But I knew I had to do something with it." He took the sum of his influences, combined them with his own vibe and got busy writing the music, playing the instruments, and singing the songs. "It's soul music, but I don't exactly have the soul voice," Morten explains humbly. "But I do it my own way, in a way that's mine."
It is his sound, his fingerprint, his sensibility, that makes his music hard to categorize. He has crafted an album of songs with different energies that all fit together to make one gorgeous record. The lead single “Falling Away” starts with a raw drum break and turns into a lushly arranged tune that paints the picture of love when it slips away. On “Still Here” he professes his resilience through life’s twists and turns over a thundering track that puts a new spin on the B side ballad genre. Songs like “You” and “Our Love” mix tones from 60s and 70s Soul with arrangement nods to Doo Wop records while Martens’ lyrics and delivery leave you singing the melodies long after they finish. “Love & Flowers” finds Martens in a moment of clarity with a song that fits the niche sub genre of happy break up tunes, the four on the floor track will move the dancefloor while the message will resonate with anyone who put too much effort into the wrong situation in their lives. However, it is songs like “Muse” and “Chess” that really encapsulate the uniqueness of Les Imprimés as they push the boundaries of genre, one a profession of love for music and the other a cover of an electronic record respectively. Martens’ lyrics, emotion, and delivery truly make the whole thing come together and stand out from any of his peers. There’s an infectiousness and a pop sensibility in the writing that is done with the utmost class and taste giving Les Imprimés the rare quality of immediate attraction that only deepens the more you listen.