Petite Noir, “Chess”

Louis Pattison

By Louis Pattison

International Editor
on 12.01.14 in Listen to This

The  lyrics to “Chess” were taken directly from an IM conversation with a girlfriend that Yannick Ilunga, the sole member of Cape Town’s Petite Noir, had, on the day of this track’s recording. By the sounds, it didn’t go well: the sentiments exchanged here might be hopeful, but the subtext rings like a death knell. Somehow, though, Ilunga manages to transmute heartbreak into something not just uplifting but close to transcendent. He sings her parts in a gorgeous soul falsetto, his own doomed pleas in a hopeful baritone; and as things unfold, a backdrop of chiming guitars and shuffling percussion lifts to a glorious burn-out with shades of LCD Soundsystem‘s “All Of My Friends”. The result is both wonderful, and devastating.