Julien Beau and Mokuhen deliver exquisitely warped ambience on their Paysage accidenté #1 LP, out now via the Paris-based label Tsuku Boshi. Beau is a French sound artist who blends field recording and prepared acoustics to create an eerie brand of ‘musique concrete’, and here he teams up with Tsuku Boshi’s Laurent Guérel (aka Mokuhen) for this intriguingly left-of-field listen. Using prepared piano, field recordings, and computer processing, the two create landscapes of sound at times oddly familiar, and at others, seemingly alien. Paysage accidenté #1 unfolds seamlessly from track to track, and it progresses a sonic drama akin to visiting a distant world for the very first time. “Mobula Mobular” opens with a low spacecraft hum that is barely hearable, until ghost-like knocks and muffled breathing add to the cinematic atmosphere. Thru the dense mist of this new landscape one senses a “presence” “out there”, but like on many of the tracks, it’s nearly impossible to discern whether it’s an “organic” or “inorganic” being(s) we are dealing with–let alone whether they are beneficent or maleficent. “Into The Wild” opens the ship doors on this far-away, Earth-like planet and it teams with the sounds of birds and insects while the random ghostly knocks gather into a steady jungle rhythm. Like some intrepid ethnographer ready to greet unfamiliar people, you rush into the open air hush of this new world to witness the strange shamanic ritual of “On the Rocks“. It soon becomes obvious that all kinds of weird sonic experiences await you here, and you don’t have to journey far to find “The Olds Tree” emitting washes of white noise and electronic scree. Thirsty after your light years of travel? Well, I might not drink the “Prepared Water“–even as it bubbles and gurgles like some underground aquifer–while prepared piano provides a melodious chime. “Bakhti Kutir” continues this mood, and as our Dwarf Star sets the piano plays a quiet nocturnal melody that seems to hang on the edge of this darkening, negative space. Punctuated by the sound of distant birds and the occasional clatter of electronics, our ears are on edge for every familiar and/or alien sound, and that is exactly the kind of magically confounding experience that Paysage accidenté #1 delivers. Julien Beau and Mokuhen’s new 14-track offering might be the only way to visit TRAPPIST-1‘s earth-like environs for now, so get your ears ready for the adventure of a lifetime !
From “Les paysages accidentés” Chloé Poizat
LISTEN Tapage Nocturne / France Musique