Meltem is a dreampop/indie folk/experimental duo from somewhere in France. I think they’re from Montpellier. They are not to be confused with a French heavy metal band of the same name. Perhaps this is the reason that they sometimes stylize their name as MelteM. The duo of Florence Bonnardel (vox, keys) and Alexandre Ayasse (guitars, percussion) formed at some point in 2013, and in the spring of last year, they put together six songs. I’m operating on the assumption that these six songs are a self-titled EP. I’m also assuming that they released it themselves and have made it very difficult to find.
The band name comes from the Turkish word for “breeze”. It’s used as a girl’s name, and it’s also used to describe the etesian dry winds that blow across the Agean sea from May to September.
“Etesian”, by the way, is an excellent Scrabble word. A pretty uncommon everyday word, but a very common competitive Scrabble word. If you play competitively, you study “bingo stems”, which are common six letter combinations and how they match up with the remaining tile on your rack. You have to memorize the common “bingo stems”, then memorize anamonic devices to help you remember whether the seventh tile works with the stem. TISANE is a very common six-letter combination because of the frequency of those tiles. Some players make extra effort to work towards getting racks like that. Some let the tiles fall as they may. If you have those six letters, you’re in good shape because any letter except Q, Y, and J can plug in there to form a seven-letter bingo and a 50 point bonus. And you know this because you memorize the device “Truckshop wiz fixes medicinal beverage”. Every letter in that sentence can be mixed in with the letters of TISANE to make an acceptable seven-letter play. Of course you also have to memorize the words that can be built with the stem and the seventh letter. Etesian is the only word that works with TISANE + E, while there are seven different words that can be formed with TISANE + L. I’m not really explaining the study of bingo stems very well, but it doesn’t matter to any of you anyway. It has nothing to do with this great song.
Anyway, I noticed that Meltem started following my soundcloud page. I followed them back and I noticed that they’re making some pretty awesome music.
I like all of their songs, but this is the one that I keep playing. Again and Again. And again.
“Every Night” by MelteM
I really love what they’re doing with the really delicately layered guitar bits. It’s structured in such a way that’s sort of like the really fragile bits on the grossly undervalued Pygmalion album by Slowdive. Really spacey and dreamy and hypnotic and a tiny bit psychedelic. Lots of delay on the arpeggiated chords. Maybe it’s really elaborately picked. I dunno. It’s really lovely, though. They don’t list Slowdive as an influence, but I’d be surprised if they’re not fans. It should be no surprise that they list Mazzy Star as a reference, though. And since they’re French, they naturally list Serge Gainsbourg as a reference.
I also love the vocals. There’s obviously quite a bit of echo on the vocals, but in the chorus, it sounds like there might even be a second singer. I’m inclined to think that she’s harmonizing with her own vocal track, but I have no way of knowing.
In a lot of ways, I’m also reminded of the fantastic Memoryhouse (who should have a new album sometime this year!). Everything seems so calm and quiet, but beneath the surface there are a lot of complex moving parts.
You can download this and other MelteM songs from the soundcloud page.