Adrien75, a great musician previously discussed here and here, has a new suite of tunes available for download as mp3s, titled Therms Forever [update: link is to Adrien75's music page--Therms is only available now as a CDR]. Comparing it with his two releases from last fall, Disc 1 comes closer to the peppy instrumental synthpop of 757 while Disc 2 mirrors the atmospheric feel and slower pace of Coastal Acces (with less focus on ambient solo guitar). But TF is really a melding (and evolution) of those earlier releases. The first three tracks, "Welcome," "Connections," and the Alphaville-namechecking "Lemmy Caution" give a good sense where the music is heading: pretty, sometimes elegiac melodies hovering over metronomic electro beats (with intermittent nods to the artist's drum-and-bass roots), and an interest in the emotional effects of radically altered sounds. A later track that jumps out is "A Plethora of Zombie," which harks back to Ralf and Florian-era Kraftwerk (check out the trippy, phase-shifted rhythms in the middle).
Despite the all-electronic vibe of the tracks, Adrien has the instincts and touch of a jazz musician, introducing chord changes, tricky rhythms, and an emotional pitch beyond the range of many techno and/or breaks producers. That's been clear since "Detroit & Carpet Eyes" (which he recorded with Doron Gura as Unagi Patrol), an exquisite piece that shifts compositional gears several times, like a Brian Wilson "pocket symphony" with breakbeats, or more recently Coastal Acces' "Highway One South," a leisurely motorik composition with burbling sounds rising and fading like features of the landscape passing in front of the windshield. Thankfully, though, he doesn't wave his virtuosity in our faces; unlike his prog-rock and fusion forebears, he keeps things clean and minimal, and unlike his electronica peers, hasn't succumbed to the trend of adding vocals to "broaden the appeal."
Here are a few more echoes of things one hears floating around in the mix--not literal cops or samples, more like musical neighbors: breathy brass licks reminiscent of Herbie Hancock's Crossings sextet (in "Smogma"), the eerie stateliness of Wendy Carlos' Clockwork Orange-vintage synth ("Keep Connected"), and a distinctive early YMO slither I can't place yet, in "Connections." According to Adrien's web page, he's got another album in the works--maybe when he's ready to publish I'll have doped out a fraction of the subtleties in this one!
Thanks for the post, Tom. I hadn't heard of Adrien75 before. Great stuff!
Another track I really love is "Therm Noir"; it kind of crept up on me.
Hey Tom, did you catch my request over at M.D.C. ?