Ensemble Economique (the ensemble is in fact so economical that it contains only one member, Brian Pyle) release their / his eleventh album. Blossoms In Red has that shimmering ambient-songcraft vibe Pyle excels at, carefully placing subtle pieces of instrumentation next to each other. Guest appearance from Peter Broderick!
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Hey, quick PSA: if you listen to the first track on ‘Blossoms In Red’ for too long you will actually sink into it and become part of the record sleeve. Listening to Ensemble Economique’s new record for the first time might conjure up that thing called ‘deep listening’, echoing the sublime, near non-existent sounds conjured by artists like Pauline Oliveros and Stuart Dempster -- on opener “From the Train Window, Red Flowers On The Mountain’, the foggy drone is brought in on softened siren effects, but floats out of peripheral vision, fading like countryside ‘til you’re asleep and have long since reached your destination.
Like all the best travel naps, this record parts ways with sleepy silence and shakes you awake, opening up into a record of chunky beats and industrial soundscaping -- think Music From Memory’s earnest electronic artists meeting slow, slithering musical approaches as disparate as Nine Inch Nails and Low. The breadth this record covers is immense, going from programmed beatwork to dauntingly sluggish drums in the space of a track -- and yet the basic speed we’re travelling at remains lulled, as if we’re approaching a halt any moment now. “You” opens on a screeching drone fragment that sounds like a car speeding through a tunnel at night, only to revert to a slowcore that marries old and new Low with the jaunted melancholy of Dean Blunt.
It’s hard to create a consistent world when you’re playing with this many ideas and taking these many paths towards them, but Mr. Economique does it well: whether he’s stuttering field recordings over pianos a la Gordon Ashworth on “Nothing Is Perfect”, or getting way too deep into his own ambience on “Train Window”, this record feels of a twilit and tawdry world, one that hope has long since abandoned.
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