Short Stories

Release Date: 06/01/2004 · Format: Audio-DVD · Catalog-No: GR 607

Lilium’s Short stories brings us pure art as it is represented by musical expression. Jean-Yves Tola, Pascal Humbert and some of their most talented friends have put together a potent cocktail of words and sounds unlike any of their previous combined efforts. Ideals that they themselves embrace as artists are given life through the marriage of their music with the words of their collaborators. In this they are set free to present a work that is far more pure and un-compromised than they had previously been able to do.

Though art is the external expression of the artist we are compelled to internalize it, giving it a virgin perspective as we apply our own interpretations independent of the intended meaning. We are shown not just the building but are invited to peek into the windows as well. Sometimes it is difficult or uncomfortable to comprehend what we see. Some of us feel it is easier not to look in the window at all. Content with the figure, we dispense with the form. We choose to dwell in shallower waters, gaze at sunny vistas that we might do and feel as the rest. We fear to indulge the taboo voyeurism of peering into our own windows lest we be set apart and labeled for our choices. Still many of us want to explore those spaces, hungering for something deeper.

Lilium’s Short Stories is a collection of these windows. Each song offers a rare glimpse into the mind of an artist who seeks to create without compromise. Collectively, they form a mosaic depicting the common face of these artists. Jean-Yves and Pascal set subtle arrangements that paint the landscape with light and shadow showing the betrayal in pained lines across that common face. The words tell of the struggle that drew them. With your God, with your love, with your muse… the struggle to be recognized and set apart from the sea of popular mediocrity, the desire to be rewarded for their sacrifice. They decry all at once the side of the audience that turns a blind eye and a deaf ear to the countless unconsidered efforts all around them. They implore us to be more courageous. Short Stories is rife with the self-revelations of each contributor as they lead us to hear and feel the burning need to be judged in the light and to feel their terror as they endeavor to find deliverance in their creations. The inevitable self-doubt and endless self-examination that comes of being perpetually in ones own ears. Themes are brought forth that threaten to unglue us from ourselves but are requisite for the artist if he is to find success. It is not enough to be read by everyone, the artist must be mass consumed to be aptly rewarded. The artist must be palatable to be mass consumed. It is the agony of this that pulses through Short Stories. It is the breath in its blood.

Lilium is a family of flowers. Lilies. Beautiful, sometimes delicate and other times sturdy flowers of many shapes and colors. They vary in their appearance but their essence is common. The collaborators on this record have their own way of presenting their appeals to us but they remain as partisan in the spirit of this art. With their beauty and their sentiment they are as one here. Even as each song comes to us as a separate life. It is a variegation of voices asking harmoniously for fair hearing. Pascal and Jean Yves conduct and hum with these voices, compartmentalizing the spaces they live in with lilting piano and whispering taps, swimming lines of bass that throb up and down like the complaining pain of a toothache into the sorrowful moan of a lovesick heart. With slow haunting rhythms, they create unique spaces for these songs to set up house in and make their own lives forever. They hold the door open for these songs to pass through into their well-timed spaces like phantoms that are briefly glimpsed in perfect blue light. When they pass we feel them living on invisibly behind us, left to their own devices in silence as we peek into the next window.

For those who are familiar with Pascal and Jean-Yves music we know them best as two thirds of Sixteen Horsepower. If David Eugene is the soul of that group, then Jean-Yves and Pascal are most certainly the essential heart. The artistic rift that had formed between them in the past is mended somewhat on this record as David is here with them, showing his support and solidarity but teasing and warning them of a fleeting triumph they know too well. Sixteen Horsepower are reunited here for one of their rarest recordings and one of Short Stories most interesting and telling moments. David howls menacingly: Ever weak / however strong / they are most beautiful before they’re gone. It is as beautiful and delicate as anything on the 2002 16HP LP, Folklore, which features these three in what is arguably some of their peak playing. There is no promise of their returning to us but only the calm reassurance that they will arise again and grow through their art and we will be free to follow them along as they do. Sixteen horsepower is brought to life on Short stories because where they have been is as important to these artists as where they are going.

Pascal and Jean-Yves have never laid their heads on the rail to hear what was coming down the tracks. They have kept their attention on the music that represents the greatest possible freedom of expression. Music that infused their souls with wisdom, music they consider art. They have absorbed that art and channeled it into the unique creations of their own vision. On Short Stories they achieve a singular vision with the help an ensemble of sympathetic collaborators. They tell us of a common private apocalypse, the nightmare of the unrepentant heretic or the stoic faithful martyr or the uncompromising artist. They can do nothing else and they will do it no other way.

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1. If They Cheered
2. Locked In Tight
3. Whitewashed
4. Lover
5. Miles Away
6. Sorry
7. Sense And Grief
8. Cavalcade
9. The Trap
10. Angels

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