LYONEL BAUCHET: The Diver (2021)
“An album full of slow twists and turns that you won't hear anywhere else!”
1 Submersion 11:36
2 Ambient Pressure 8:00
3 Abyss 11:29
4 Hydrostatic Equilibrium 10:04
5 The Edge 11:29
(CD/DDL 52:38) (V.F.)
(Art for Ears, Modular, Prog EM)
What a pleasure to discover the sonic fauna of Lyonel Bauchet! This master in the art of using the complex Buchla 200th system had converted my ears to his immense musical canvas in 2011 with the impressive album The Secret Society. Since then, it's been media silence except for a few pieces of music appearing on various compilations. However, Bauchet works tirelessly to increase his sound library (the Library Music) while releasing his Buchla Tunes, he's up to Volume 8, and other sound extravaganzas on his Bandcamp page. Moreover, he creates videos in real time that accompany a good part of his tracks. A complete artist who I invite you to visit his Bandcamp site for hours of entertaining discoveries. THE DIVER is an album whose concept revolves around the underwater world that our eyes will never see, thus leaving all the freedom to his creator and his diver to create a sound illusion that defies the imagination, the prerogative of Electronic Music. At the time, The Secret Society was offered in download format on the DiNDLL website. This time, THE DIVER is offered as a manufactured CD limited to 500 copies, as well as in download format from September 17th. Let's embark right away in Lyonel Bauchet's latest story in sounds and music.
Lying on our back, ears screwed to the suspense of Submersion, the vibrations of the underwater waves and the starry song of the synthesizer fight to the best of their ability to drag us into the ocean depths. The descent is slow but rich of its scarlet sounds which tear our senses even more when a heavy note of bass shakes the hammer of my eardrums. Submersion deploys its oxygenated layers whose broth is illuminated by a rich and diversifying tonal fauna. The synth weeps as only Vangelis, and now Lyonel Bauchet, know how. What was luminescent turns into a dark and tenebrous psybient, witnessing that the underwater fauna and its elements, both physical and organic, can be lethal as well as immensely beautiful. Moreover, a bagpiper lets us know this as the descent continues to surf with an increasingly heavy and murky vision. Until the void becomes the bottom, after the 8th minute pass. A whirlwind of joy sets the moment ablaze with orchestrations and staccatos dancing with my imagination already hearing the white sand of the shallows swirling with the intertwining of the orchestral elements. Tying itself to the first tinkling of a sea bell, the rhythm of Ambient Pressure bursts forth like a nice surprise. The form is Electronica, and each stroke is coated with a tinge of chimes and clanks of clock. The enchantment is only in its infancy as a sonic discharge accompanies this structure where the rhythm and its percussive effects, including an aggressive sledge hammering, remains pecked from all sides by sharp sonic filaments. The electronic arrangements are in the tone with a robotic disco vision. I would say this is one of the most interesting rhythm structures I've heard lately. Then comes Abyss and its music, its ambiences describing very well the axis of the track. Piano notes wander through a sonic broth of sharp filaments and tonal fauna best exposed by the presence of underwater boils and eddies. The ambiences are taciturn with dramatic peaks demonstrating the intensity that emerges from this sonic flora. One hears ghostly outbursts and their elastic rebounds, Dantesque arrangements and rhythmic frameworks quickly absorbed by the power of these silent eddies, while the multitude of sound effects shows the artistic amplitude of the modulars and notably the Buchla 200e system. Fascinating, intense and powerful, I was not bored at all throughout the 11 minutes.
It's with these ghostly rhythmic rustlings that we move on to Hydrostatic Equilibrium. Immediately, we notice the intensity that emerges from the lappings of water and a dull hum with the rise of a prismatic synth line whose shadow submits its share of melody and its mocking laughter. Little by little, a rhythmic melody is born behind these shadows of apocalyptic trumpets. Weaving a jerky circular phase, this rhythmic melody overlaps these strident ambiguities in a delicious phase designed for those ears hungry for sounds and sonic surprises. And THE DIVER is full of them! The rhythm chooses its escape at the 4-minute point, letting this delicate piano weaves its melancholic melody more complete here than in Abyss. Its 5 notes in single file redirect the music towards this shredded rhythm that lazily swirls until it faces a storm of shrill wiisshh. The earworm forged, Hydrostatic Equilibrium takes its structure into an atmospheric phase where various sources of tinkling and resonant drones drag us to the final chapter of Lyonel Bauchet's second album, The Edge. This true musical happening begins with the shadow of its predecessor with a frail structure whose chimes struggle to be heard. These reverberating effects drag with a palette of sound effects, as disparate as organic, on a structure driven by a layer of pulsating bass. Gradually, a rhythmic backbone is added to this fascinating crescendo that keeps adding melodramatic weight to The Edge, which sails above all in the middle of a storm of wiisshh and woosshh that calms down along with these rubbery pulsations on the verge of the 9th minute. Leaving Lyonel Bauchet to close the imagination of his Buchla 200th.
How far the French synthesist has come since The Secret Society! THE DIVER plunges us into a mysterious sound universe designed to surprise and charm us at the same time. Indeed, there are moments not so easy to tame, while others catch us immediately. A sign that Lyonel Bauchet has blown hot and cold to draw us into his nebulous webs of avant-garde music. An album full of slow twists and turns that you won't hear anywhere else!
Sylvain Lupari (September 11th, 2021) ****½*
Available at DiN Music