Marie Davidson and Pierre Guerineau were once evicted from both home and studio. It was winter in Montréal, and the couple found sanctuary in the warehouse of Le Filles Electriques—an independent festival producer. Inside, while working out and running in the relative warmth of her new home, Davidson would listen to her favorite electronic artists, and on Demain est une autre nuit (Tomorrow Is Another Night), you can hear those influences out in full force. Seamlessly, their collaboration as Essaie Pas would become a dark horde.
Davidson has become something of a star in the world of minimal wave, which is at least partially due to her work with Guerineau. Holodeck Records has also had a role to play as the boutique Austin label that released her well-received solo record Un Autre Voyage. While Davidson has often been on the road lately, Guerineau has been spending his time producing artists like the lo-fi crooner Dirty Beaches. That said, Guerineau appears to have traditionally been recognized for his part in the success of others; the press haven’t focused their attention squarely on him, unlike Davidson—that is, unless it’s through the lens of Essaie Pas.
On the album’s insert, Guerineau looks away from the viewer in his artist photograph. The photo-portrait accentuates his cheekbones, which have a similar disdain to that of Serge Gainsburg (Guerineau, unlike Davidson, is French). But Guerineau’s face is longer, trim, and sloping upward elegantly, tamed by a tight, combed-back haircut. He is delicate. Davidson’s gaze is apprehensive in one photo yet wry in another. She conveys an abyss of personality. Her features are rounder, her brown hair splaying across her forehead and resting on her leather jacket. Essaie Pas, as a pair, look like actors. Are they playing a part?
Through their minimalism, Essaie Pas have the ability to be limber genre acrobats. A slight addition of a beat on “Carcajou 3” changes the song from pop to disco. The fade-out brings a heavier pulse and a four-on-the-floor beat. Overall, Essaie Pas (translated from Bukowski’s epitaph as “Don’t Try”) apply different subgenres to Demain est une autre nuit.
Writhing and possibly inept, Essaie Pas reach for techno with “Facing the Music.” With Northern Electronics’ Varg all the rage these days, “Facing the Music” feels like feeble posturing, but Essaie Pas never like to stay in one spot for long. For example, take Davidson’s “Shaky Leg,” which broke form on her first album, Perte D’Identité—a surprisingly honest record in the style of dark ambient. “Facing the Music” similarly leaps from Demain est une autre nuit’s bevy, and for a comparatively long five minutes at that.
Demain est une autre nuit is by no means a soundtrack, but depending on the song you’re listening to at any given time, scenes certainly change. Davidson’s Un Autre Voyage was scored to her life and fantasies. Demain est une autre nuit is theatrical too; the conclusion, “La Chute,” relies on Guerineau’s monologue and inclement samples of Davidson’s singing, like Fabio Frizzi’s score to City of the Living Dead—an Italian supernatural zombie flick. For those who don’t fancy themselves cinephiles, Essaie Pas can be a slog.
As it turns out, Essaie Pas are not actors; they can be taken at face-value. The duo’s music is mired in a minimal wave with tropes more rigid than black metal. Essaie Pas exalts influence like kissing the don’s ring—one for each style. You will not be bored, and, if so, Davidson and Guerineau monologue to illustrate each song. Essaie Pas reached a new summit signing to DFA, and Demain est une autre nuit is an emblem.
01) Demain est une autre nuit
02) Dépassée par le fantasme
04) Carcajou 3
05) Le port du masque est de rigueur
06) Facing the Music
07) Lights Out
08) La Chute