translated by Stefano Bianchi
At the end of last December, we heard the first notes of Bella Lui (beautiful light in old valaisan), the fourth album of Kassette. It is under the same stage name, which she intended at first as a project and not a pseudonym, that Laure Betris issued her new track. Kassette was meant as reminder of the analogical and DIY aspects that embody this particular music support.
An American football field, muscles, a moist locker room, a bulldog, and half naked Axe body spray reeking men singing along the final chorus of “Will You Be The Same” is what you find in the first single of their newest effort. Said like that, it may seem odd. But we have learnt not to expect Laure Betris to offer us polished and smooth material. The Fribourg born musician has a sharp eye and a taste for surprises. Therefore, it was not a coincidence when she decided to work with Lionel Rupp who directed the clip, which perfectly embraces the UFO universe that radiates from Kassette musical world. As for the artwork, she teamed up with the brilliantly crazy Gilles Rotzetter who fully depicted the unfathomable aura of the young Iraqi-Swiss musician.
A few days before the release date of her fourth album, we met at Bad Bonn for an interview before a Jerusalem In My Heart gig. We sit down in a quiet area where Laure confesses that she is not very confident with that kind of exercise. But if she anguishes for radio, writing is something that fits her way better.
Very quickly, she explains that music is one element of her creative process, but not the only one. It is, thought, the one that is put on the front line. Yet, the road that leads to a new record is paved with sketches, quotes, drawings scattered in her personal pantry of ideas, as she likes to call it. She fills it copiously and regularly until she has everything necessary to make an album. Creation is found everywhere: with a keyboard, a pencil or a homemade demo recorded in her kitchen. Nothing seems to stop this magnificent Iraqi-swiss. Even thought she likes to go abroad to compose, Berlin for her second album and New Orleans for the finish line of her latest effort, she also appreciate having an entourage. Solitary when writing, she then brings in the people she wants to work with.
Although Sacha Ruffieux is present on all her albums, other collaborations with various artists are not systematically recurring. If the people Laure works with are different, her creative process remains the same, continually. She seeks other influences and energies that match hers and help her nourish her perpetual creativity. She tells me that one should accept that a album is born like a photograph, a fixed instant or memory of who you were while creating it. And that after that one should move forward to something new, to continue on a journey of constant creation.
I have to admit, I am very fond of her attitude toward her music. Even if it is not always right to judge an artist on his or her complete discography, let’s bet that this kind of retrospective is going to be more joyful for some than others.
Even in ten years, whether Laure will be comfortably seated in a rocking chair on a balcony over the sea or in a retirement house for rock stars (managed by Keith Richards), it is without doubts that she’ll never regret Bella Lui. The record opens on “A Part Of Me”, an enchanted ballade lead by the characteristic voice of Laure, a soft tone but full of character, sometimes whispered and fragile but never unsteady. “A Part Of Me” reminds me a little of Matthew E. White’s first album, with a choir in shape of “hou hou hou” and this retro-esque taint. We skip the second track as it is “Will You Be The Same” and we already know it. The third track is “Cherie Cherie”, a real hit with a heady chorus, which contains everything you need in order to end up singing it in front of your mirror while brushing your teeth in the morning. Proof is also found here of Robin Girod’s presence, producer of the this album who were able to instil, in addition to this surf spirit, a touch that recall the French seventies and the folk form the US. This shuffles the path and demand from the listeners simply what they do best: listen. Finally, just like the picture below shows it, their collaboration is not far-fetched.
Joking aside, Kassette is happy to issue Bella Lui on Cheptel Records, which, according to her, represents what an independent label should be nowadays. For the singer, the Geneva based label gives you the desire to be interested in what is happening outside your door. Cheptel Records value a certain ethic and a search in musical quality that are sometimes forgotten for the sole benefit of the market. They have no style boundaries, no frontiers and like Laure said half laughing “frontiers suck”.
For the future, we wish that can travel to share her music but also to fill more and more her personal pantry. As we imagined, Laure did not wait long to start new projects. Between Horizon Liquide, chill electronic music that she is working on with Valentin Savio or Tremate, a radical experimental noise poject alongside Geneva based drummer Nicolas Field. It is no longer a personal pantry that we are talking about but an entire survival basement. With luck, we might see her soon on stage, on a solo project that she has always dreamed of. Great Sci-Fi enthusiast and geek on her off time, she imagines herself handling the steering wheel of her small spaceship, full of joysticks and other things to start up in order to reproduce on stage the sounds she had distorted for hours. Bring it on!
Kassette will showcase Bella Lui on Saturday 20th February at Bad Bonn in Guin, along with Louis Jucker.
The vegan chocolate-cardamom mousse recipe of Laure:
For this very special chocolate mousse you will need:
- A rather matured avocado
- Brown sugar
- A can of chickpeas (yeah yeah !)
- A lime
- Some fruits for decoration
It is really simple: empty the avocado and mix it finely. Then mix, with your own taste sugar and cacao. I used approximately 50g of cacao and three tablespoons of sugar. But I like the pronounced taste of cacao and wanted to avoid the sweetness of sugar, so you can vary the proportions.
You now have your first preparation.
In order to obtain a real mousse, we should add beaten egg white. But this is not very much vegan.
The new trend in the vegan world is to use aquafaba. This liquid, which has even a website: aquafaba.com, is the newest discovery. If you mix it with something acid, for example a lemon (which I chose) or cream of tartar and mix the whole thing you will have an almost identical preparation to beaten white eggs.
We easily find this liquid in chickpea or red bean cans for example. All it takes is to collect the liquid (use the beans in a soup or for a hummus), and add a bit of freshly squeezed lemon (a teaspoon is enough) and then mix it until the preparation has the perfect aspect. I even tried the “turn it upside down over your head while praying” and it worked!
All you have to do then is mix the two preparations and add a hint of cardamom.
For the dressing, I emptied a dragon fruit, carved circles in it and marinated them with lime. Then I disposed the mousse in the empty fruit and dressed it with my dragon fruit circles and some physalis.
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