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YOANN VAN PARYS - Support Act : La Clé des Champs

Feb 2020
Mar 2020
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"A review already at Rif-Raf!"

He brought out his first EP in 2016 with the label I-SEL/P based in Saint-Gilles, after creating several self-produced CDs (which stood out thanks to the attention given to the artwork). He has also participated in compilations made by foreign labels, but now this Etterbeek native is back with his first LP out at the end of the winter of 2020. It almost seems like a rite of passage, an act of maturity as our Swiss friends might say when someone passes an educational milestone – there is even a Swiss Maturity Committee! Imagine how we would quiver if we had to face such a Committee, given how we already shudder in Wallonia when we have to submit a subsidy request for so-called non-classical music. But let’s get back to the artist.


20 February 2020 to 29 March 2020


  • Galerie
Yoann Van Parys


After isolating himself in Italy to record several voice tracks and string instruments in studios owned by some of his friends (in Venice, in Arezzo with Alessandro Fiori, a personage he praises highly in interviews – on this note, see the interview given to PointCulture magazine – in Catania (Colapesce), in Ivrea (Marco Jacopo Bianchi, from Cosmo) as well as in Liguria), Yoann Van Parys has produced a spine-tingling record with a jaunty title: La clé des champs [The key to the fields] (perhaps a reference to André Breton?). Taking the key to the fields means getting out, or rather escaping, stealing away, not causing a rumpus, making people believe that you are still here even though you have already gone elsewhere, or coming back to this spot while nurturing the dream, or even the myth of someplace else. In our Belgian artist’s music, and I would even go so far as to say our Walloon musician (from Walloon Brabant, not Liege for once – I think we’ve had just about enough of garage rock), we can identify something deeper that permeates and murmurs, which unfolds in the faraway, nocturnal echoes of the urban world, and is lined with an aquatic atmosphere, like an encouraging feeling of the end of the world. These layers of sound, made of iron clicking noises (as if Uccello’s Battle of San Romano were taking place on Rue Belliard in the heart of Brussels, or if Auderghem were to find itself covered by a substantial amount of water to achieve, after twelve centuries of immersion, the enviable status of Ys, the mythical city swallowed by the ocean off the coast of Brittany), can be heard on the track Toboggan.

Yoann Van Parys, "Toboggan", 2017, (11,5 x 50 cm) & (28,7 x 43,5 cm) sur 55 x 4 x 3 cm
Yoann Van Parys, "Toboggan", 2017, (11,5 x 50 cm) & (28,7 x 43,5 cm) sur 55 x 4 x 3 cm | Courtesy : LMNO

Other fine particles are also projected into the sound field, adding a unique grainy touch and distorting voices, creating the sound of L’invisible lait bleu [The invisible blue milk]. The colour of this disc – which is not evident upon hearing it for the first time, but which, nevertheless, entices the eardrum and hooks the attentive and demanding ears of our readers (and we are also thinking of our specialised readers, the critics and journalists whose interpretations we greatly look forward to reading: Come on boys and girls!) – comes mainly from a feeling of melancholy tainted with a sort of hopeful, yet despairing, energy. On top of this, there are also moments of pure contemplation and ecstasy, in particular in the pieces where the Wah pedal is used. The listener may also hear echoes of hymns and other war chants, with a devilishly rousing effect, thus instilling an overwhelming desire to revolt (starting with a revolt against the Maturity Committee on so-called non-classical music for their disgraceful abandonment of Walloon troubadours, but that’s another story and one which would narrow the scope considerably, for here it is rather a question of a revolt against the establishment, whether urban, cemented in concrete one could ironically point out, or social). On the perspective of the arrangements themselves, in many pieces we can pick out some work on the side-lines, something which is being re-organised in the wings. It is as if we were to find a salute in guitar music or around the campfire (the notes of pop music which can be found here and there, the ironically naive tenderness of the last track on the album La cascade [The waterfall]). The blend of folk and electronic music makes this beautiful disc one that is sure to charm fans of The Notwist and Sufjan Stevens (let’s spare our Etterbeek native from being compared to Belgian peers for once, such as Sharko or Dead Man Ray).

I can already assure you that this record will hold a top spot on my list of the best albums of 2020. But, unfortunately, I am under no illusion as to its commercial success. I am familiar with the bewilderment faced by the ears of those who do not read our work (or listen to us or look at what we show them). We must admit that, as a Belgian musician, and moreover a Walloon, it is a feat nowadays to get playtime on Radio Contact, or even PureFM. We must also acknowledge (O melancholy, bitter castle of eagles, as one once said) that Roméo Elvis, Stromae and Angèle (especially due to their lyrics) are hard to beat. Yoann Van Parys will play an intimate gig at the Botanique and you have the opportunity to win two tickets offered by our publication. All you need to do is write a little postcard explaining which fields you would like to unlock with your key (and might we suggest that you carefully consider the style to make it a pleasing read). 



Louis Annecourt