Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bell Orchestre "Recording A Tape The Colour Of The Light" (Rough Trade, 2005)

Artist: Bell Orchestre
Album: "Recording A Tape The Colour Of The Light"
Release Date: November 8, 2005
Label: Rough Trade
Genre: Post-Rock, Indie-Rock, Instrumental, Experimental-Rock
Mood: Ethereal, Suffocating, Brooding, Autumnal
Reminds Of: Arcade Fire, Godspeed You!Black Emperor, Rachel's, The Books
What People Think: SplendidMagazine, DelusionsOfAdequacy, AllMusicGuide
Definitely Worth Buying: Amazon, BoomKat

1. Recording A Tunnel (The Horn Plays Underneath The Canal)
2. Les Lumieres, pt. 1
3. Les Lumieres, pt. 2
4. Throw It On A Fire
5. Recording A Tunnel (The Horn Plays Underneath The Canal) (Continued)
6. The Upwards March
7. The Bells Play The Band
8. Recording A Tape...(Typewriter Duet)
9. Nuove
10. Salvatore Amato
11. Recording A Tunnel (The Invisible Bells) (Frost)

Recording a Tape the Colour of the Light is everything instrumental post-rock should be and nothing it shouldn't: it sounds live but hardly loud and is brimming with sound but uncrowded. Renouncing formulaic bombast, Bell Orchestre dazzles by finesse, not force. Call it blank slate music-- oceans of negative space awaiting colonization-by-imagination. Bell Orchestre, led by the Arcade Fire's Richard Reed Parry, sparks memories of critically maligned early-decade instrumentalists Ghosts & Vodka and Telegraph Melts-- bands derided, in part, for their lack of distortion. Bell Orchestre is more frictional than the former, less NPR-arty than the latter, but its general drift is similar. From the stertorous, semi-electronic horn swells of prelude "Recording a Tunnel (the Horns Play Underneath the Canal)", the album worms into focus. Less like rain than a slowly gathering fog, "Les Lumieres Pt. 1" builds from a murmur to a klaxon. To follow its development is to watch bacteria conquer a petri dish: New threads twist off somewhat chaotically from the brass nucleus-- an awakening string trill here, a gingerly bell flourish there. On "Les Lumieres Pt. 2" the ecosystem hits full flower. Sultry, echoing horns chafe against skittish strings and fast, charging beats, a textural contrast reminiscent of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. (The bands, as Recording demonstrates, also share a penchant for ungainly titling.) But Bell Orchestre are on a much happier tip. Where Godspeed ride an abandoned train through a miserable wasteland, Bell Orchestre gallops across rich, rustic landscapes. Like Lumen or Explosions in the Sky, it's all a bit fantastical, but the band goes easy on the symbolistic dalliances. Bell Orchestre is all about freeing our neural pathways, not directing them. And hey, here's an idea: concision. Five of Recording's 11 tracks undershoot four minutes. Despite a couple of longer, jammier pieces the album is a still a breezy listen. That's because, unlike lost siblings Do Make Say Think, Bell Orchestre largely avoids ambient pussyfooting. Voluminosity and slenderness rarely cohabitate in instrumental post-rock, but here both are integral. Nuggets "Recording a Tunnel" and the chilly "The Bells Play the Band", which imagines Boards of Canada piped through ham radio, would become boundless gorges of nothingness in the hands of many similar bands; Bell Orchestre wisely consigns its most shapeless passages to short stopgaps and segues. Meanwhile, instrumentally verbose songs like "Throw It on a Fire" are kept asteer by bedrock percussion. Recording is designed to underwhelm. It rewards repeat listens and nurtures those lulled by its intoxicating spumes. Whether the album achieves its titular synesthesia is debatable, but Bell Orchestre tap into a wide, mesmerizing range of the spectrum.

(source: PitchforkMedia)

“[Bell Orchestre] varies its cunningly sequenced, gratifyingly brief instrumental tracks with such old-fashioned amenities as textured melodies, pleasing dynamic shifts, and passages that, if they don't actually r-o-c-k, at least bound down the road in an excited manner.” [VILLAGE VOICE]

“Capacious, intimate and brimming with both whimsy and tension, Recording A Tape is what classical music might sound like from some advanced alien civilization.” [MAGNET, #70, p.86]

“A timely twinkle of apple crisp bells, hearth-warming handclaps and belly-rubbing brass.” [JUNKMEDIA]

“A simply devine collection of free-flowing pieces that range from voluptuous widescreen imaginary soundtracking to a cacophonous blend of instruments jammed in an arthouse basement…”


myrkursoli said...

copy the link into your web browser

Death Of The Left Unfinished

Anonymous said...

Tried uploading but it says page not found.

myrkursoli said...

The above link seems to be removed, let's give it another try...

Death Of The Left Unfinished