Tenet by Montreal-based solo act Un Blonde is a record with no clear roadmap. It plays with your expectations and uses them against you, a wholly original sound emerging through its maze-like tracklist.
At any given moment Tenet is pulling from freak folk to hip-hop, Jean-Sebastien Audet recording everything himself (except for some extra vocals on album-closer "I Wish"), creating a truly restless, and rewarding, record. It's been available online since July, and has taken physical form this month through Ottawa-based cassette label Bruised Tongue.
You could call it a little off-time and a little out-of-tune, but that would be missing the point here. It's pretty clear that these off-kilter moments aren't coming from any lack of musical skill. Audet, originally from Calgary, is just prying us out of our boring expectations.
The songs don't end so much as they dissolve into each other. A two-chord guitar loop in "Once Over There" provides the song with only thing close to continuity, and "Less Than There Were" barely holds itself together as rattling percussion (sounding like it was made from whatever was lying around) comes and goes.
Several of his beats give off a trebly impression of hip-hop and R&B — with angular, post punk guitar lines providing a completely new context for those grooves.
That R&B potential is put front-and-centre on "Look", Jean singing along with his iPod in a video posted to YouTube Christmas Day. It grooves with a kind of rawness that makes me think it's not too far off of what the Neptunes might have been doing before their '90s hits started coming out.
"Look" isn't on any of the Un Blonde releases Jean posted in 2014 on his Bandcamp page. I get the sense that Jean lives and breathes his music — always building off tangential ideas and recording experiments. There's probably a lot more where this came from.