The very endearing and strange project of Domenique Dumont was formed in 2013. It now exists as a solo saga for Latvian producer Artūrs Liepiņš, but he’s had some backup over the years. The vocals of Anete Stuce once graced Artūrs’ gentle soundscapes, and there have been rumours of a third mysterious member involved. The name of this elusive French artist remains unknown, and apparently he may be fictional! How alluring.
The group was once described as ‘“ultra-low BPM”, and Artūrs seems to have carried some of that influence forward with his newest project. His new album, People on Sunday, was written and performed originally as a score for the 1930’s German silent film of the same name. This was performed live during a screening at Les Arcs Film Festival in the French Alps last year, and finally released as an album this month.
People on Sunday is a cheerful and at times groovy entry into the abstract world of synth-pop. Whilst this is very much a listen to accompany a period of downtime, the release plays out well. It strikes a cool balance between the catchiness of harmonic keys and soft percussion against the airy dreamlike synths of tomorrow. I put it like that because the soundscapes and melodies do at times sound futuristic, but as if they are the whimsical visions of somebody living prior to the digital age. This evokes a certain sadness given the context of the film.
Unfortunately, I haven’t seen the pivotal and highly revered People on Sunday, for which this soundtrack was sculpted, but it was filmed and set on a plain old sunny Berlin day just several years before Adolf Hitler rose to power. The playful and optimistic nature of this album seems to give an insight into a window of German history where ordinary people wished to move on from war and depression and just live their lives. Of course, this never materialised and the German story was mired for decades to come by evil, terror, and suppression. This context gives the soundtrack a melancholic undertone, but also one that is deeply thought-provoking.
Domenique Dumont’s latest album has helped me to slow down and remember to enjoy the little aspects of life often overlooked. Its pace and clarity is sobering, and its ties to the 1930’s silent film People on Sunday should nudge us all to appreciate what is in front of us right now. You never can know what’s around the corner.