For fans of Cliff Martinez, Clint Mansell, Max Richter.
Best known as half of post-classical / electronica duo Piano Interrupted, London based French producer Franz Kirmann goes back to his electronic roots with “Meridians”, his second album, due out on Denovali Records next July. While his first album – Random Access Memories (released in June 2011) - was a sort of compilation of music he'd written since 2005, “Meridians” is a more consistent proposition where tracks were put together using the same technique of assembling tiny audio snippets and samples with a strong emotional content (from a pop vocal to an orchestral extract) and transforming them beyond recognition, to then assemble them and create something new and unique. Music was then composed from the resulting sampling manipulation, adding layers of vintage synthesizers, drum machines and granular soundscapes and resulting in a sound that could be best described as a meeting point between an 80's synthesizer soundtrack and a post-modern electronic record.
CD: digipak. Vinyl: thick gatefold covers, 180g vinyl, different vinyl colours, free download"
1. Dancing on the edge of the void 6:42, 2. He watched as she disappeared into the crowd 5:09, 3. That day we threw the keys out the window 5:46, 4. They drove all night only to find themselves back where they started 10:37, 5. Where did we go wrong? 5:21, 6. Glider 4:19, 7. Only when your eyes are closed 4:31, 8. Good morning bright star 4:03, 9. Excelsior 4:27, 10. Ghost of a smile 4:11, 11. With such sweet despair 4:45, 12. You fall in love with someone else 3:17
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Kind of like watching Upstream Color at half-speed, ‘Meridians’ often makes true on Franz Kirmann’s downbeat intentions, sustaining all neo-classical and IDM inclinations in the air for gorgeous, but equally unsettling ambient compositions you’d expect to hear while watching a wordless film.
“Where Did We Go Wrong?” is a prime example of this, using descending and ascending waves of sound that are supplemented only by occasional chimes. It’s in these moments that Kirmann sounds most assured, as if his genre territory is Eerie Yoga Music -- the sparser, the better. When ‘Meridians’ becomes less of a meditative record and more of a blockbuster, though, it loses that weightlessness. The beats that jump in half way through “Dancing on the edge of the void” only serve to take away from the placating beauty of Kirmann’s piano-playing, and the synth that follows is comical, a cartoonish imprint on a very natural piece.
It’s as if Kirmann is influenced as much by M83 as he is Stars of the Lid, and he can’t decide what’s going to win out: the big music that destroys worlds or the music that’s more wind than sound. Ultimately, though, there are enough soaring, beatless soundscapes on ‘Meridians’ -- such as “Where Did We Go Wrong?” and “He Watched As She Disappeared Into The Crowd” -- to prove Kirmann a thoughtful, and supremely gentle, composer.
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