Archive for October, 2009

Fugues’ Unreleased Tracks 2009: A Skillfully Orchestrated Escape

A new compilation of Unreleased Tracks from Paris-based collective Fugues is out this Fall: a narrow-escape for these thirteen tracks.

fugues - unreleased tracks 2009

The third of a series of compilations, and available only by mail order from French label debruit&desilence, Fugues’ Unreleased Tracks 2009 will not go unnoticed among the Parisian and foreigner circles of indie ambient and post-rock, not only thanks the remarkable set of newly confirmed and emerging artists involved in this and the previous issues, but also because of founder Jerome Olivier past and present implications in the independent music scene. Whether many of his past and present acquaintances will take the step from simple recognition to actual mail order is a different matter… Such a release is unfortunately very likely to be overlooked by most of the participating artists’ audience. Yet, as its title indicates, this humble and discrete CD-R contains something that might be very dear to fans: unreleased tracks.

Life Without Dreams sets the exposition with “White Light”. For those who have already taken a peep – or immersed themselves – into Fugues’ aesthetic, the vivid opening guitar arpeggio pattern surprises with its almost Caribbean feel. But then comes the counterpoints, and the Singaporeans glossy pads and scarce floating vocal seamlessly layer into a more atmospheric direction. Though the most accessible and conventional track of the records, it does eventually unravel with the enthusiast tension of a movie’s opening theme, with the promising and overwhelming vastness of an unknown landscape.

The journey begins, and The Toy Library’s “Once the Dust Settles” resounds with a still and contemplative sadness, while Simon Scott’s drone developments offer a moment of rare and almost palpable darkness. We are undoubtedly being taken where we were expecting: away. Rothko, Rafael Anton Irisarri, and Lightsway sweep by in a dreamily succession of textures, though the latter’s usual naïve accents do not convince as much as the two formers’ mastery.

Millimetrik’s “Méduse” may quite sound like a U.F.O amongst such a collection – if not a faux pas. Nonetheless, and surprisingly enough, this middle entry of electro beat does not disrupt but actually achieves a surprisingly convincing articulation to Message to Bears’ almost romantic episode. Silencio’s “Again, Again” brings us back to darker shores with the haunting rhythm of a ticking clock and soon fades out to give way to two tracks of delicate and poignant beauty.

Peter Broderick & Nils Frahm and Goldmund’s cinematic pianos and strings alter and invigorate the scenes with every note. Painful and serene, heartbreaking and soothing, they skilfully bring color and tangibility to the old roll of film.

But it is almost the end, and July Skies’ guitar responds to that of Life Without Dreams, with the same self-contained density. Closing theme. The screen turns black and Last Days’ “Light” 3-notes pattern echoes in you for while. Has it really been an hour?

From the first hearing it is obvious that Unreleased Track 2009 is more than just a compilation. And it does not seem to serve the purpose of showcasing a “vision”. It is the work of a true passionate, a hermit in the city of light. Carefully and patiently collected and put together with commendable coherence, these 13 rarities take on the glimmers of gems. Extracted from the mundane contingences of the musical scene, illustrated by the unsettling words of the man himself, and by the enigmatic picture of photographer Julie Calbert, these orphaned tracks find space to bloom and grow on their audience.

A lucky audience, with only a 100 copies… And if the minimalist home-made packaging lets you think this is all not so serious, playing it through will convince you that Fugues’ vault may be as precious as its content.

Visit Fugues’ Myspace

Order Unreleased Tracks 2009 from debruit&desilence

Lisa Germano’s Magic Neighbor Pays Us A Nightly Visit

With her ninth album released this Fall on Youg God Records, Lisa Germano shows an unwithering talent for welcoming her audience into the darkest recesses of her grounds. We do like to lose ourselves.


It is Fall already and we find ourselves gifted with a set of seasonal ballads, all resonating with the crispy clutter of dead leaves, and the insinuating melancholy of days getting shorter. A soft piano/violin intro – sort of instrumental reprise of In the Maybe World’s “Red Thread” – will guide you through the forlorn lanes. But the sun is going down now, and the Indiana singer/songwriter is scattering her scarce yet striking effects and textures through the soudscape again. Her voice, breathy, direct and unflourished, has started the confession.

Frustration, impossible love, self-loathing, addictions, broken dreams and unspoken hopes. As always with Germano, this may at first sound like the making of a self-tortured teenager. Yet this is the work of a 50 year old woman, who has now been recording and touring for 18 years. Affectively immature, maybe, a chaotic journey through the music industry, depression indeed, and known issues with alcohol. Such facts may be of little interest to her faithful but limited audience. But if you are new in the neighborhood, they can show you the way through this short album. It is night now and “The Prince of Plati” is giving you a brilliant illustration of the lady’s skills for poignant secret-telling, a little poisoned gift, delicately laid in your ear with barely any reverb to protect you. She is sweet, somehow spontaneous, but unsettlingly indecent, and the more attention you give her the more it starts hurting.

In a little time, though, you may notice that composition and arrangements are at the same more daring and more formal, slightly reminiscent of her earlier records. A bit more folk, a few more kitties on the keyboard. And you will be awarded a little recess and talk the inarticulate language of our feline companions on “Suli-Mon”, one of her most playful piece. Yes, a few tracks here may not be as strong as we would like. Take the time to catch your breath during “Painting the Door”, for it is merely one of her usual destructured-electrolayers+impro-like-singing. But before then, you will have to walk through “Snow“.

Lisa_Germano_Magic_NeighborIt is the dead time of night, the coldest, the darkest, or it is the snowy landscape in winter, either-or, it spreads all around, monochrome, colorless, a saturated spread of emptiness, it is sad to the point of becoming stifling, it is so quiet that it infiltrates each and every of your nerves like strings. And it does win you. So take a deep breath, as the night draws to an end, you may finally get some sleep, being lulled into a “Cocoon”, in dreams, being again drawn to a place where you can find comfort. Let’s hope tomorrow it will sound clearer to you, for it is Fall only, and the nights are getting longer and colder, and there is lot of listening to Lisa Germano to do.

Listen to “Snow”

Buy Magic Neigbor on CD or LP on Young God Records