ANDY PICKFORD: Vanishing Point (2021)
“Always daring, he does cross ages to bring back old habits and give them new visions”
1 Don't Look Now 7:20
2 Holistic Summer 5:20
3 Vanishing Point 4:34
4 Pocket of Dreams 4:26
5 The Lie Remains the Same 9:54
6 Unidentified Aerial Pißenfürze 5:21
7 Shimmer 6:02
8 Phoenix Rising 5:22
9 Sublime Mutation 4:49
10 Long Time Gone 7:20
11 Shine 6:02
12 Horizon 6:24
(DDL 72:59) (V.F.)
(England E-Rock, Electronica)
In his text on the Bandcamp page of this album, Andy Pickford explains that he didn't have this desire to pursue the experiment of long tracks, like in his RadioSilence series. And this is why he conceived a long musical mosaic of 73 minutes in order to exorcise himself from the ambiences of RadioSilence. Conceived between this series and the remastering of Terraformer, VANISHING POINT takes us back to the 90's with a music library he conceived and amassed over that period and today. He has selected tones and puts them in loops to inserted them randomly into the 12 structures of his brand-new album. The result is always seductive with a fusion of old electronic rock anthems from the 80's and 90's dressed in a modern Electronica vision, exploiting the grey areas of a futuristic universe that just can't get rid of its ancestral look.
Don't Look Now immediately puts us in the mood with a good rock soaked in the Electronica, by its rhythmic structure and its sessions of percussions firing like a machine gun. Percussions slamming with energy, bass line pulsing nervously, and prismatic synth lines are the main elements that give a vision of chthonian rock to this track whose absent voice layer obsesses the senses. The theatrical introduction of Holistic Summer leads us to a down-tempo and its circular elements that always drop a trick to make it the star of 10 seconds. The bass line, incredibly effective in VANISHING POINT, guides our ears to portions that never stay put. And this evolving structure favors those snippets of synth melodies that never hesitate to change shapes. Agonizing riffs, turning more into loops than jerks, guide us to the title track. Vanishing Point serves us a loud soft rock in a circular structure that spins with the impression of belonging to a tribe of hippies growing their own hashish. It's the first track of the album to catch my favour from the first listening. Pocket of Dreams follows with an even softer structure and a voice in a vocoder having a hoarse tone within the years. Sonic beads and tinkles adorn this heavy ambient melody with reverb effects and magnetizing electricity that slows down the value of the lyrics even more. This is ghostly AP at his best in this gray area where he backs off as far as his Binar's effects. We stay in the realm of hard to decipher vocals with The Lie Remains the Same which seems to feed on the same rhythmic grain as Vanishing Point, with more effects in the percussion, not to mention that growing chthonic choir. The second part gets rid of its shuffling skin in order to plunge us into a good electronic rock decorated with these ducks' quackings which also serve as percussive elements. Everything is invented in Andy Pickford's universe!
Unidentified Aerial Pißenfürze starts with a series of sonic spasms that form a circle teeming with nervousness. We are in a kind of electronic rock dragging its drum'n'bass skin in a hyper jerky structure. Trumpet samplings and complicated rhythmic algebra work are dichotomous links that clash in this track not made for sleeping. The short introduction of Shimmer also seems to aim at this goal, except that the track takes us to the Glitch period of Electronica. In a setting of electro-acoustic sizzling with gray noises, is born a beautiful down-tempo dressed in futuristic with a flute whistling this meditative melody and electronic castanets. These two contradictory elements weave the main charms of a black and white track that likes to play with its velocity, just to keep us on our toes. It's with white noises shaping an unreal clock that Phoenix Rising gets into life. Another black and white structure, its rhythm is anemic with intense difficulties to give it impulses. It remains in a kind of soaring psybient rock that adorned with good percussive effects and crossed by an alien melody that takes the ascendancy on Phoenix Rising. And the more I think about it the more I see, I hear rather, a concordance between the title and its music. And I've always found that great in an artist! Sublime Mutation seems to come out from the out-takes of Phoenix Rising, but in a more pop vision. Although the title-track is catchy at first listen, I still hadn't heard that little gem of tenderness that is typical of Andy's albums. Well, it's done with Long Time Gone. Slow track with violins floating like silk and percussions with heavy and slow hits, AP takes the guitar to structure a beautiful melody in the form of a solo which exchanges its harmonies to be sung by the synth. A very good title with arrangements just as sublime (what to think of this saxophone losing its tears in a guitar) which makes melt my carapace of hard man. Shine subtly takes the road of the composite rhythms of VANISHING POINT with an e-rock serving as a basis for the arrangements of a mini–Big Band Orchestra. Opposites attract in this electronic vision that drains its final moments into a sanctuary of ambiences, even with that glittering stream of arpeggios that disappears into the effects opening of Horizon. This last track exposes a good harmonious e-rock with a texture of melody on the swarming bed of the sequencer and percussion that adjusts the rhythm in accordance with the emotional vision of Horizon. A typical AP track for the conclusion of many of his albums.
VANISHING POINT offers you some very good Andy Pickford who refuses to get old. Always so crazy and audacious, he manages to cross the ages while returning to it as he pleases in order to bring out a trick, a forgotten texture, to which he gives another dimension. This is what makes his richness after all these years. This is an album that is more in search of its sound textures to which are grafted good structures of rhythms and melodies in which Andy always excels to extract the best, even from the most banal thing.
Sylvain Lupari (March 27th, 2021) *****
Available at Andy Pickford Bandcamp