Chef Menteur
We Await Silent Tristero's Empire

Six Ten Split review of We Await...


by Victoria Larsson, Six Ten Split
May 2005

Next time I travel it will be ticket-less and with no known destination. When I am in an airplane, above the clouds, hovering in a baby blue sky and need my anxiety fed, I will reward myself with We Await Silent Tristero's Empire in my headphones. This unpredictable, sprawling soundtrack tells my tales. It strays from convention and deceives all my pre-conceived notions. When I think I have this band pinned down--classified and defined, stocked in the right aisle of my local mega super-store CD retailer--Chef Menteur cunningly turns around and goes another way. It's brimming with equal parts pins and needle tension and stoned space jams. Although for the most part the different tracks hold their own, this album is also a cohesive saga. It's mood and atmosphere-based rather than melody-driven. The narrative only becomes understandable in the context of the whole album, but even then, it's open for interpretation and defined by the listener's own state of mind. I, for one, can't decide if this album is filled with doom or hope. The album was created over the span of two years in Chef Menteur's rehearsal space/recording studio. Founding members Alec Vance and Jim Yonkus play an impressive array of instruments including (but not limited to): sitar, dulcimer, guitar, kalimba, upright bass, and various analog keyboards and synthesizers, while Chris Sule and Mike Mayfield add drums and percussion. Despite the many ways Chef Menteur have chosen to capture their sounds on tape—4-track tape, analog and digital—the end result is seamless and big sounding, perhaps thanks to Piety Street Recording's John Fischbach's skilled mastering. If you want to treat your ears to a feast of interesting sounds and textures, of ebb and flow, and if you love daydreaming, you should run out and buy We Await Silent Tristero's Empire today.