Out on Germany’s Ajana Records, is the third album by Swiss sound sorcerer Vince Le Barde. This productive, elusive producer released his wonderful 2nd album Le Tireur De Ficelles on Peak Records only 3 months prior to this… The difference of course, lies in Le Tireur De Ficelles being an up-tempo danceable album, whereas Subliminal Melancholies is chilled downbeat stuff… Well, on the surface at least! More about that later…
Ever since his excellent debut album Brain Stretching (ResonantEarth.com 2005) I’ve been a big fan of Vince’s musical output and pretty much everything I’ve heard from this versatile producer has been excellent… Including his very interesting chill tracks released on the two A Magical Journey compilations (Ajana Records 2005/2006) + his highly original chill track Bas Le Masques running at an incredible 193 BPMs per minute closing up his last album… All in all, this, his first downtempo album is destined to greatness… Let’s find out!
Let me take you thru the tracks…
As the title suggests, the album kicks off with a submerged, hollow-sounding underwater tune… Its icy cold clinically-distilled ambient music with only a few, subtle beats in the last half of the track… Not unlike the chilled maestro’s CBL and Solar Fields really… Dreamy, eerie and melancholy stuff… The echoing submarine steel and subtle whale songs are the icing on the frosty cake… Awesome!
#02: Neverending Story
Up next is another piece of sonic bliss… The track starts with some seriously cut up alien voices accompanied by a gorgeous melodic lead very reminiscent of the works of Mr. Angelo Badalamenti… Add some subtle Ventian Snares/AFX industrial off-key breaks and cuts, and you’re close to the sound of this sweet track! That’s right; this is deeply emotional, epic stuff… Like a trippier, less sad version of Bluetech with the added odd time signature stamp… Amazing!
#03: Cordial Family
Two such amazing tracks must be hard to top – and yes, the icicle does melt now… Sure, this track has loads of interesting moments... Especially the clash between organic and digital sounds is interesting to observe, but somehow it does move me as much as the previous tracks… Also I don’t quite agree with the high-pitched, squelching noises – not really something I dig in downbeat music that I often use to relax or sleep… Anyway, it’s not a bad track at all – it’s just not as great as the two previous ones…
#04: Mountain Landscape
When I first started reviewing Vince’s music a couple of years ago, I often described his music as ‘highly inspired by the majestic Swiss peaks’. On this track his old inspiration shines thru musically again – and this music is like a nice mountain backdrop with incredible depth and latitude… Nothing too complicated going on – it’s all subtle, floating stuff… Like a step, depp Bulgarian Radi-style mountain!! Nice little tune, though again it’s not a stand-out…
#05: Entre Palmeras
From ice-covered Swiss mountains, it’s time to head south and get between palms! And sure enough, the sun is starting to challenge the cold now, and we’re slowly moving towards sunnier, more progressive stuff… This is very nice, soothing downbeat wallpaper – perfect for relaxing… Yummy!
This choon kicks off with some analogue synth exploration that is soon joined by a strange off-key piano melody… All very relaxed and peaceful. Suddenly some subtle radical distortion breaks the mould with AFX-like irregular rhythm patterns + some heavily vocoded voice samples… A clash of two worlds, which you would usually find hard to combine outside of IDM, but Vince does it with the greatest of ease here… And it works and fits the flow off the album… Nice!
I have no idea what Rozococie is referring too… Sounds like the name of an obscure, Polish village, but I have no idea… What I do know, is that Vince is joined by fellow countryman Ajja S.F. Leu (The Peaking Goddess Collective/Yab-Yum) on guitar on this extremely chilled, esoteric piece of mellow downbeat… The added organic flavour of the guitar is a real asset, and this is among the most epic, ethereal tunes here… Very tasty!
On this track Vince is joined by some dude called Francois Chabbey on guitars, and another dude called Olivier on didge… More ‘real instrumentation’ is great, and once again they help lift the track to higher levels… This is absolutely lovely stuff… Very sunny, organic and uplifting… Epic, drifting and delicate… Brilliant!
#09: New Wave
“Cris-crossing the Torah, is a code of hidden words and phrases that not only reveals our past and present, but foretells our future. Some even believe that it contains the actual blueprints of the universe.” Whereas New Wave is another extremely unique tune, it has some of those high-pitched sounds that bothered me earlier, so for chilling this is maybe not so good… But as a piece of non-linear, non-conformist music it’s very interesting… We’re drawing even closer to industrial/IDM territory here – the drum&breakz percussion is a dead give away… Interesting track with a fitting length…
#10: This Is The Beginning
Next up is a track with is just as unique as the previous one, but without too many high-pitched sounds… But this is still über-hardcore for a supposed chilled track… The hardcore, distorted, industrial-like stabs are weighed out just right – and the atmosphere here is VERY mechanical-animal like… It’s not quite illbient, but its close… Kick-ass!
The final track with the cryptic title is more organic vs. digital eclectic downbeat music… It’s a clash of smooth, slick, floating organic vibes colliding with sharp, electronic, industrial elements… And some guy called Djoul on drums! And somehow Vince manages to make it all sound extremely blissful… I dunno how the hell he does it, but it totally works… A fine way to end this unique album!
With this album I got exactly what I hoped for: A full Electrypnose album that continued the trend Vince started on those few selected downbeat tracks he already released…By that I mean a clash of soothing, floating, mellow organic sounds enhanced with vivid experimentation especially in the rhythm sections… The off-key, often distorted and industrial AFX-like rhythm signatures were already a major factor on his last album Le Tireur De Ficelles, but Vince manages to draw on the same influences on this downbeat album… That also means, that for serious chillage or even sleeping this album might be a little too hectic – but for lucid chilling it’s very good! Sure, there’s a couple of tracks that are not as good as the rest, but as usual with Electrypnose, the quality level is VERY high and the competition for stand-out tracks is fierce! In short all that means, that this in an extremely well executed and very mature album! I dig it!