Between the mechanical throb of the nightclub and the laconic wooze of the bar exists a strange, smoke-filled space inhabited by two artistes, singing songs of hedonism and surrealism through rasping voice and groaning instrument. This pair of s ongsmiths sit just as comfortably next to Tom Waits as they do next to Matthew Herbert, providing they’re all holidaying somewhere exotic at the time.
Even if their sound may form a cohesive whole now, Nicolas Sfintescu and Ezechiel Pailhès travelled qute different paths to reach the formation of Nôze some ten years ago. Nico was embroiled in the Parisian music scene, DJing, promoting parties and producing dirty rotten leftfield house tracks as Freak, eventually forming the Circus Company label with his close allies so that they had an outlet for their awkward but addictive blends.
Ezechiel meanwhile was following a more refined path, having spent time gaining classical music training in Paris before studying in the Marseille Conservatory and graduating with a distinction. His attitude towards electronic music was dismissive to say the least, but upon meeting Nico the two managed to find some common ground, however unlikely a pairing they might be. The first fruits of their labours appeared on Karat in 2004 before spreading to Trapez and naturally Circus Company in quick succession.
The first Nôze album, “Craft Sounds And Voices”, was an abrasive affair that reveled in infectious grooves and noisy punk attitude. Never before had raunchy saxophone, prepare d piano and live drums been melded into house music with such conviction.
However it was “How To Dance” that really caught people unawares with its sing – along ditties woven into a jazz – infused micro house template, managing to be fun, funky and cutting edge all in the same breath. The hoary – voiced personality of Nôze , manifested in Nico’s guttural growl, came into being through unforgettable tracks such as “Love Affair” and “Kitchen”.
After this steady rise, it came as something of a shock when the next LP, “Songs On The Rocks”, appeared on German powerhouse imprint Get Physical. Musically, Nico and Eze had moved on towards a sound less in debt to the dancefloor embracing a deeper warmth and musicality that tapped even further into their natural talents.
By now their unruly live set was also the stuff of legends, propelling them into the frenetic pace of life on the road, taming princesses and inciting revolutions on every continent. Far removed from the screen- lit fixation of so many “live” club performances, Nôze revel in the camaraderie of two friends orchestrating a party, if not leading it in a blur of sweat, booze, excellent hats and a lack of shirts.
As if to confirm their membership in the Get Physical family, Nico and Eze returned to the label for their fourth album Dring, and followed it up with the eleventh installment in the celebrated Body Language mix series. It marks a time when the brothers in charms have evolved yet again, feeding the wild accomplishments of their past into a staggering tapestry of sound that embraces yet more distinguished classical musicianship with even more raucous electronic elements, and still managing to diverge into reggae, soul and pop as much as the standards of house and jazz.
By now, surely global super stardom is waiting for Nico and Eze, but while the world prepares itself for two bleary – eyed Frenchmen to slur tales of love and absurdity through your sister’s radio, you can only begin toimagine where the men in the sharp hats will be taking us next