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