The Stoned’s experimental recording on "L.E.S. Douze Vol. 1" pushes listeners to forget everything they know about Cajun music.
Led by Lost Bayou Ramblers vocalist and fiddler Louis Michot, The Stoned is a group of musicians who performed during Michot’s 2016 residency at The Stone in New York City. The performers included Lost Bayou Ramblers bassist Bryan Webre and English musician Spider Stacy of The Pogues.
From those NYC live sessions comes “L.E.S Douze,” what's expected to be a series of 12 live recordings from Michot's residency. "Vol. 1" with The Stoned is a sprawling, ambient improvisation that melts and reforms Cajun music as a experimental art form.
Deep bass, fiddle, saxophone, guitar and tin whistle all appear on the recording laced with sparse percussion. The track is uninhibited by structure and finds a formal rhythm only a few times throughout its 45-minute run.
To say “L.E.S. Douze Vol. 1” is a sonic journey would be an understatement. Michot and his band make an avant-garde trek through zydeco and jazz like early Creole explorers through a thick swamp, discovering new sounds every step of the way.
Much of the instrumentation and vocals are drenched in echo and reverb, casting a misty haze over the work. The band also experiments with tempo transition and electric effects. These elements see The Stoned sounding more like Captain Beefheart than a traditional Cajun ensemble.
Michot and his band find steady rhythm by the end of the set and march victoriously out of the swamp and into clearer waters. Here, you can easily make out the influence of Cajun folk as each instrument reunites in a familiar melody.
“L.E.S. Douze Vol. 1” is something to behold. From start to finish, The Stoned manifest their own creativity and ability to abandon tradition and honor it in the same moment.
You can find the album online at lesdouze.bandcamp.com.