Wednesday 19 May 2021


Gérard Fromanger - Tirez-Tirez, Boulevard des Italiens (1971)

Lately I've been taking some time to do more just sitting and listening to my collection. For years it's played as the background to my goings-on but as of recently I couldn't shake the feeling I wasn't giving it the attention it deserved, especially some of the newer things I'd picked up that immediately get lost in the sea of shuffle as there are thousands of tracks. So, as cliche as it sounds, I've been taking a little slice of the day after I get off work to stretch out and just listen for a while with no real distractions. Here are some bits and pieces I've had a good time with as of late.

Arovane is one of those. I want to say that this is another one that I had recommended to me a bunch back in the Grooveshark days but I can't say for sure, we have come full circle though in that it does keep recommending it to me on discogs now I'm looking at a bunch of old Toytronic stuff. Tides is a lovely album, one that was distinctly more ambient in my memory than it actually is, it seems. It came into my collection when I was still riding the high of Akira Yamaoka's more trip-hop influenced stuff from the Silent Hill soundtracks, and there's a little bit of that influence here: title track Tides sounding like one of the less menacing examples from the original 4 with that hazy, heavy stumbling beat and distant acoustic backing, the same kind of atmosphere Yamaokoa was playing with comes up even more later on with some delicately placed warm pads. The final falling away of all the elements and fade into the full ambient outro is beautiful too, Tides is an early highlight of the album - but the rest is great too, if you like this one you could scoop the whole thing and enjoy it easily.

Sense came to me in a similar way, one of those artists I noted down in the past that had been recommended to me, but I put off because I assumed they'd be hard to come by like some of the older IDM stuff, but most of Sense's work is up on Bandcamp. This album sat on my Bandcamp wishlist for a while among a couple of other Sense releases - Learning To Be stood out to me from the artwork alone, I find it really striking and really evocative of the albums sound. The opening of ex t nerla carries on that warm and fuzzy trend with more lush pads and an analogue hum, with some little pitch bends and that introduce a slightly off kilter sound that's a signifier of things to come.

Learning To Be is a much more traditional IDM affair than the above, nothing super intense though, more in line with some of the stuff Casino Versus Japan or The Flashbulb have made. It's a solid opener, one that nicely sets up the rest of the album as most of the tracks follow this same kind of formula, but that's not a condemnation as it's one that works really really well. The beats can be a little on the harsh side at times, but I do love the sounds that Sense plays with on this album, and I will almost certainly be posting the gorgeous ambient drone of Human Buffer Zone at some point in the future.

Closing out is B-side to the Truant EP - Burial's Rough Sleeper which I've brought up a few times in the past. It might just eke out the top spot for my favourite thing he's ever done, it's a 13 minute masterclass in his aesthetic - though it remains a near constant beautifully lush for the entire runtime and doesn't quite dip to the tense and menacing vibes of some of his other work. Having said that though the opening sections do have some nice and thick basslines behind them, and there is usually a 2-step beat accompanying most of it, so it's not like a full on ambient piece or anything. It can be a bit daunting with it's length but its not too bad in practice: It is a continuous experience but one that's divided into clear sections, the first half is are absolutely divine and my favourite of the lot, but each one has there place and there's not a bad one among them. None of them overstay their welcome, but take that with a hint of bias as the longest sections are also my favourites of the bunch.

I only have a couple of complaints after all this time, the first one being simply the ending is super abrupt (but that's small potatoes considering the length) but the other one is a little more pressing. Here and there over the runtime, there are some intentional digital glitches put in. They are good for flavour I will admit, but they are a bit too convincing in execution (if you've ever ripped a slightly scuffed CD you'll attest to that too), to the point where I actually had to listen to the official uploads on other services to make sure it wasn't just my copy.

That's all for this time, I have a couple more things lined up for the coming posts but I might also slip another quick one that's just a blurb and some tunes like I did a little while ago (just minus the rant next time!). I found it pretty refreshing to do, and while I love to write posts like this where I get to go a bit in depth, I appreciate it does sometimes get a bit text heavy so I figure I might try it just for variety and that - might let me queue up multiple like I used to a little while ago. But anyway, hope you dig some of these choices and as always: Stay safe and enjoy the music.


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