It has been quite a long time since David Sanson’s, a.k.a That Summer’s, first album : Drowsiness of Ancient Gardens. At that time, the musician was alone at the head of this project, which initially started on the gothic scene. Today, this 1994 album, made with Tony Wakeford (Sol Invictus, Death In June, Current 93…) has been depicted as a precursor of the French « dark-folk » scene in two books about these musical trends (1).
Since then, D. Sanson has recorded several albums. He moved away from the minimalist and elegiac world of his debut so as to wander – according to his panoramic musical curiosity, from Germany to Belleville and including Montreal – around post-rock and electronic music, eccentric pop or atmospheric rock. All this without nevertheless losing a strong tendency to a form of melancholy, originated from his post-punk and new-wave teenage years, nor an immoderate taste for featurings with musicians like Bernd Jestram (Tarwater), Sylvain Chauveau, Benoît Burello (Bed), Jérôme Minière, Pierre-Yves Macé, Malcolm Eden (McCarthy, Herzfeld) or Alain Frappier (Baroque Bordello). The outcome of his musical career came with the composition of a real band, after the release of Clear (Talitres, 2005). This was first because of the demands of live performance – at the Café de la Danse (with The National and Flotation Toy Warning) and at the Route du Rock 2009, as well as at the Centre Pompidou. Then also because he wanted to explore the virtues of collective emulation. Today, That Summer is a quartet of multi-instrumentalists, including David Sanson, Etienne Bonhomme (Innocent X, Claire Diterzi, Louisville…), Olivier Cavaillé (Louisville, Sylvain Chauveau, My Broken Frame…) and Nikolu Jorio (La Chatte, Genau, ii, Lustrine, Louisville…).
The entire band then scored Near Miss, That Summer’s sixth album, on the countryside. It was then recorded in two weeks in Berlin, on summer 2008, in Bernd Jestram’s studio. You can hear the homogeneity and vitality of the sound, which gave David Sanson complete freedom to make fast tracks, in the first part of the album. Some of the tracks were written back in the early 1990s, like Ghost Tracks or The Hues of You, produced by Krikor. They all have been nevertheless created and composed collectively and then given to Geoffroy Montel (Minizza, Brocoli Records…) for the mixing and mastering.
Eight tracks (plus one), some of them hinting at idols (All Cats Are Grey / Cure), punctuated with interludes, including featurings with Cyril Secq (astrïd) and Matthias Grübel (Phon°noir, Telekaster). A comprehensive piece of work which confirms the uniqueness of That Summer amongst the French rock scene, with a combination of melodies a la Depeche Mode (the ballad Obviously, sang by Sylvain Chauveau) and a sensibility for atmospheres owing to Bark Psychosis’ or Slowdive’s peaceful pop, Mark Hollis’, Robert Wyatt’s and Brian Eno’s rebellious one, or even to classical music.
1. Carnets noirs. Musiques, attitudes, cultures gothiques, électroniques et industrielles, acte II (collective work, éditions e/dite, 2006) and Looking For Europe. Néofolk & underground, tome II (Andreas Diesel et Dieter Gerten, éditions Camion Noir, 2009).
That Summer is David Sanson’s project, and “Clear” is his third album: a dozen pastoral and urban pop-songs, melodic and melancholic, stripped down and subtle, influenced by artists such as Brian Eno and David Sylvian, as well as Hood and Depeche Mode.