One of the more difficult releases of von Hausswolff‘s to find, L’Esprit was released on a short-lived French imprint named Disques La Carotte. As such, I purchased the 10″ sound unheard, expecting his usual clinical work (pun intended). In that regard the album does not disappoint. It is perhaps more rhythmic than some of his later work with every piece featuring some kind of digital or acoustic pseudo-percussive element. That said, his subsequent albums have their own rhythms – either the beat frequencies produced by closely oscillating voltages or that intrinsic meter evoked by the very low frequencies present on albums like Graf Spee (which I cannot recommend more highly) or Three Overpopulated Cities… Either way, L’Esprit generally has a more ‘experimental’ feel than his current disciplined aesthetic: ‘Ballet Absinthe’ feels improvised, while ‘Alcohol (+)’ resembles Toshimaru Nakamura’s no-input mixing board exercises.
The outer sleeve is made of two x-rays fastened together with grommets and a sticker – precisely whose x-rays is one possible question. How he, or the people running the label, got their hands on the 600 sheets needed to make the hand-numbered edition of 300 is another. I can just picture them loitering outside of radiography labs in Bordeaux or Stockholm, “Est-ce que tu as fini avec ceux-là?”
There are usually a few copies available around Discogs, though they tend not to be cheap.
Apologies for the quality of the rip – the only other digital copy I was eventually able to find was actually worse. Likely a byproduct of the translucent vinyl.