LORD OF THE ANTS: Firebird (2014)
Updated: May 19
“If one like diversity and musical structures which take completely unexpected bends in a meshing of rhythms...”
1 Firebird 3:38 2 Ruby 3:22 3 A Dedicated Man 3:43 4 Expectate Veni 7:05 5 Dr Dee 4:35 6 Impossible Sky 5:11 7 East at Least 5:02 8 Neuronaut 4:13 9 Secrets of the Days 4:55 10 Keep Off the Grass 4:35 11 1218 4:25 12 Orlando Girl 5:13 AD Music | AD139 (CD-rDDL 55:57) (Electronica & New Age) (V.F.)
Having walked on the paths of New Age, ADMusic explores the avenues of an EM which mixes firmer rhythms to orchestrations where rather catchy melodies, certain stamped by the New Age seal, float in envelope musical which knot the cinematographic approaches to electronica. Hydrosphere, from Divine Matrix and Of Moons and Stars, from Iotronica are two good examples of this new direction from the English label. FIREBIRD distances itself from those, but just a bit, with a more punchy music which gets closer to the remarkably interesting Transfer of my Affections from The Pels Syndicate. This Lord of the Ants' 2nd album, the other one being Quantum Voodoo which was released in 2009, offers a dozen of short musical pieces, set apart for one track, which move enormously inside their minutes and which touch lightly the big themes of electronica without ever taking root really in a genre in particular.
The title-track opens with a series of arpeggios shivering like pieces of wood which collide in some big Siberian winds. The approach is nervous, but fast covered up by pads of Gregorian voices which infuse a perfume of Enigma on a structure of rhythm which livens up on a meshing of linear percussions and bass sequences. That gives a kind of semi techno interrupted of passages as ethereal as the sections of melodies and the orchestrations which decorate it. This kind of rhythm with nervous static shocks also finds its niche on Dr Dee, which sounds quite like TD with its guitar, and Orlando which lurches more into a kind of Ambient Chill. More cinematographic and very relaxing, with its delicate arpeggios which shiver in the winds of orchestrations and air voices, Ruby eventually offers a beautiful down-tempo with a tone of guitar, rather nasal, which cries on a slow tempo. If we are into a more ballad mood, Secrets of the Days offers an interesting folk approach with an acoustic guitar which scatters its notes on a rather slow rhythm. The voices and violins offer a rather poignant texture. The same goes for East at Least, which is quite good. An electronic rock, kind of very Tangerine Dream in 220 Volt Live years, intertwined in a kind of Deep House approach, A Dedicated Man is transiting by several kinds in a little less than 4 minutes, while Neuronaut is a pure Deep House. The diversity abounds on this Christopher Westcott's 2nd album, the one-man band behind Lord of the Ants. Besides finding an interesting, and completely unexpected, reggae in Keep Off the Grass, Expectate Veni entails us in a long progressive structure which gathers more or less all the styles which we find on FIREBIRD. The rhythm is rather slow, from time to time a bit jerky, with sound effects well putted in a rather tribal musical approach. Only drawback! The sound seems to have its limits. There are distortions here and there. Is it the sought effect? That would be possible because that adds an effect of apocalyptic science fiction on a more or less film structure. At this level, and although clearly quieter, 1218 is closer of a screen with orchestrations a bit dramatic and percussions which roll like military thunders on the tears of violins. A good track filled with emotionalism! Impossible Sky is a music piece which a little breaks ranks with a more acoustic approach which struggles under thunders of percussions and rests on perfumes of saxophone. At times one would say a kind of lounge, jazz and blues with a guitar which grumbles in the interlinks of several musical styles, just as a lot of tracks here besides. East at Least begins with an ambient approach where sizzling winds and ochred synth lines float like radioactive clouds. The track eventually falls under the charms of a good mid-tempo, interrupted by jerks and by ambient movements, with fascinating hoarse breezes adorned of Didgeridoo perfumes, and some beautiful orchestrations as well as a sweet seraphic voice. I know that it sounds like a New Age a la Enigma, but I like that! And if we like diversity and musical structures which take completely unexpected bends in a meshing of rhythms which touch almost everything in the spheres of electronica, this FIREBIRD is completely drawn for your tastes.
Sylvain Lupari (November 17th, 2014) *****
Available at AD Music