review

fluid-radio

Bio + Larkian + Les Poissons Autistes is the result of a remote collaboration that occurred between three Swiss bands...

Within seven tracks, the musicians explore and mix up their various backgrounds, from folk to electro, through jazz, post-rock, metal, country&western, classical music and even Mongolian traditional folklore, with a lot of noise in the midst. Although half of the label Three:four is based in Lausanne this is their first totally Swiss record, and judging by the results one hopes it is not the last.

Opener 'Si j'étais chez vous, je partirais' impresses early with its energy, more like a dreamlike opening take on I'm Not A Gun or the prog/math rock of Battles, which is then filtered and slow shuttered through an ambient lens. The collaboration truly reveals itself to be a sum of its parts, with organic and lo-fi elements all panning and scanning their way through the track. The opener is bookended with the frenetic guitar of the intro, encapsulating and presenting well the multiple forces at work.

'Le garçon qui ferait plaisir à maman' has quite the mutated spaghetti Western/Ennio Morricone vibe, counterpointed with mournful textural experimentation. Certainly a subscriber to the school of thought that dictates a change of pace is necessary for the second track on an album.

'Sans rancune' shows the electronic side of the trio of collaborators, and is easily the standout of the release, also the most cerebral. It takes what appear to be delayed guitar notes and stretches the texture into a cinematic and bassy surge, reminding in places of a Johnny Marr/Hans Zimmer soundtrack. This track decays into an electro pulse thumping out of the speakers, the mix well and truly dominating the listener. An epic six-minute trip.

'L'éteignoir à filles' starts with a more Dominic Miller-like guitar piece, which is then swept across waves of drones before some guttural bottom end and light percussion carry it away.

'Vous faites vraiment trop chier' (which I am informed translates as a fairly strong profanity) is very much in the ephemeral experimental vein to start with, but does eventually pan out to be a fairly melodic and well-placed collection of divergent tones and parts.

'La chaussette vide' continues the cinematic vibe from earlier, and hints briefly at the percussive guitar of the first track. Fluid bass slides down the middle, and bottom end surges pulse through the six-minute piece.

Closer 'Le kiki dans l'eau froide' starts with some regal harmonics and brooding texture, and is a positive but solid final note. The visceral tail end is reminiscent of vintage “Flares”-era Port Royal, if they were finishing on a gangbusting high note. I cannot speak highly enough of this track, a gem.

The thing that really impresses is the vitality and energy of the exercise; at no stage are tracks left to their own devices. There's a continual oomph that pushes everything along, and the life in them is sometimes lacking in more considered and weighty releases.

The album is definitely a collection of different works as there's no discernable theme or guiding tone throughout (that was apparent to me, at least). In saying that, a disjointed release with this much energy is preferable on most days to a sluggish one with more cohesion. I certainly hope Three:four commission more.

Mastered by Julien Grandjean at Jetlag Studio in Vevey, this release is a 500 CD edition that comes in recycled cardboard format by Stumptown Printers. The cover by Didier Oberson is striking and distinctive, and represents the “sum of all parts” concept ideally. There is also a modestly priced 224kbps MP3 release, for the digitally inclined.