Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier, Elevator Boy, DenMother, and Bears On Parade – Brief Obsessions (I Had An Accident, 2011)

Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier, Elevator Boy, DenMother, and Bears On Parade – Brief Obsessions
I Had An Accident 2011

Brief Obsessions is a double C32 cassette released last year allowing fifteen minutes for each of the four music groups. Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier (I Am the Little Knight) is Félicia Atkinson from Belgium, Elevator Boy is Matthew Breakey from Toronto, Canada, DenMother is also from Canada, and Bears On Parade is from Utah.

Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier’s “Comet Dogs of Pompei” includes softly distorted, oscillating synth drones making that whirling sound when you swing a rope around in circles (you’ll understand if you listen below, I swear). Joining the drones are echo-y spoken word vocals, presumably Atkinson’s, because I think they sound French, though they are a bit muddled. The distorted whirling drone fades out as softer, enveloped synth drones enter among even louder, more bass-y echoes coming from the vocals. The vocals cut out as layers of texturally varied synth drones enter with quite a dark, gloomy quality. “Vesuvio Breath”, also by Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier, begins on a more percussive note, featuring free form, bass-y bells and a “ch ch” sound in a fixed rhythm that sounds like a closed high hat from a drum machine. Synth drones fade in among the percussion sounding quite clean but dissonant as the pitches waver a good amount.

Elevator Boy’s “Hearing Your Breath” is composed of down tempo, melancholic, reverbed electric guitar melodies. A hissing sound slowly builds in volume as the song progresses. The guitar melody is relatively short and repeats throughout the song, but it sounds quite full as it is supported by a bass part. “Searching” gradually fades in with layers of gentle guitar drones and an unidentifiable spoken word loop. There’s a rest between each time the vocal loop repeats. When the loop comes in, more layers of drone enter in a wave of sound, which is quite an effective compositional technique. “The Lovers Position” incorporates more drone work with a sporadic scraping sound and chanting vocals. There also seems to be a singing bowl in the mix, which really fits quite well in the piece among the drones. The last song by Elevator Boy, titled “House”, is made up of a droning and pulsating guitar loop mixed with a short vocal melody, which also repeats.

DenMother’s “The Run To Home Base When The Bases Are Loaded” starts off with a couple layers of droning and plucked electric guitar playing together rather harmoniously. A fairly simple song but it is still a good listen. “This Is Comfortable” really juxtaposes quite beautifully gentle female vocals with a distorted drone. “American Beauty” begins with layers of similar female vocals, except this time they are looping syllables and chanting over the loop. So beautiful! Definitely a contender for one of my favorite songs on this release. A hissing sound enters, repeating on the beat of the looped vocals.

Bears On Parade’s “This Is My Blood” begins with found sound recordings joined by down tempo, gently plucked electric guitars. The found sound fades out and melancholic, lo-fi vocals enter quietly, in addition to slow drum set rhythms. More percussion enters which sounds really echo-y. “I Can Smell October” features a lo-fi acoustic guitar plucking soft melodies soon joined by similarly quiet vocals and a synth backing up the song. Overall there’s quite a home recording, diy feel. The last song, “Bears Are Orphans Too” is composed of a couple layers of rhythmic, droning electric guitar melodies. The short melody repeats itself throughout the song quite simply but it’s a serene, peaceful listen.

2X cassette for purchase: http://www.ihadanaccidentrecords.com/releases/ih074.html

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