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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Lyonel Bauchet Tractatus Lyra-Organismus (2023)

Updated: Jul 7, 2023

A kind of music that is addictive from the moment we fall under its spells

1 Tout ce qui a lieu 10:16

2 Le grand miroir 8:41

3 L'ordre à priori des choses 7:10

4 Le nombre des noms 3:40

5 Une seule et même réalité 8:51

6 Égalité des signes 3:32

7 Sur ce dont on ne peut parler 6:02

(CD/DDL 48:17) (V.F.)

(Art for Ears, modular synth music)

I love it when music challenges both the ears and the imagination. And when dark, melancholy threads of melody are woven into music designed to make work the imagination, well, I like that even better! I fell in Lyonel Bauchet pot in 2011, when I discovered the excellent The Secret Society, which was his first album on the English label DiN. Then came the enigmatic The Diver, 10 years later, and this sumptuous TRACTATUS LYRA-ORGANISMUS. A challenge if you want to break through the wall of sound effects, grainy ambiences, non-rhythmic rhythms and melodies cut out from the romance of black-and-white French cinema. And you want! This 3rd opus from the filmmaker of sounds from France on Ian Boddy's label is his finest to date. It's conceived in a vision of contrast between the colorful effervescence of the many timbres of the modular synths versus this poetic cinematic ambience where nostalgic melodic themes are exploited with a fingering that eats our eardrums.

A flute tone and shimmering sounds escape from a knell and its metallic radiance to initiate Tout ce qui a lieu. If the other tinkling sounds raise their level, it's a delicate piano that counterbalances the nuance. Its notes, released by dreamy fingers, tinkle in a sound substance that respects what our ears expect from a 3rd rendezvous with Lyonel Bauchet. Rhythm and ambiences are on the alert. They are in perfect balance with the unknown that weaves this immense impressionist sonic web that is the electronic music (EM) of France's musician-synthesist and wizard of modular Buchla synthesizers. Muffled beats attempt to structure a downtempo conceived in the fog. Move, don't move! This suspended rhythm absorbs the tinkling of metallic beads and of their long runoffs in a musical fauna that liquefies, perpetuating a heritage conceived of prisms and other sound effects of electroacoustic and organic mutations. Cymbal crumples, muffled drones, percussive effects reminiscent of the cryogenic rhythmic fragmentations on Tangerine Dream's Poland album and guitar tears are just some of the elements that fill the frames of Tout ce qui a lieu. And we haven't even passed the 4-minute mark! The howls of this guitar texture chisel away at the moods with a sharp ferocity. The piano notes resist this canvas of sound effects and howling winds, crumbling a black-and-white melody on a bed of azure sizzles and misty orchestration. Backed by a lower piano note, this melody wraps itself around an invisible scroll, creating those charming earworms that will haunt our listening throughout TRACTATUS LYRA-ORGANISMUS. Winds dominate more and more, even tending towards black drones, and guitar textures emerge with wild surges. Tout ce qui a lieu is then consumed in a violent atmospheric phase, where the rhythm is more illusory than driving, but still makes us waddle our heads.

Rich of this setting and these sonic illusions, the TRACTATUS LYRA-ORGANISMUS adventure continues with Le grand miroir. Its rhythm is slow, like a kind of cadenced procession built around metronomic tick-tock that dock with a line of D notes, bass notes, from the piano/keyboard. A ghostly, almost vampiric melody line rolls in loops. Adding an obsessive quality to this rhythmic melody. The winds howl dully. They amplify their presence with grainy wails and increasingly accentuated roars, giving the illusion that our ears are entering into a forbidding universe. This continues with L'ordre à priori des choses. The piano notes fall like tears of solitude on the arcs of a wind seeking the support of violin strings. Their tinklings resonate and shudders in a dark room from which a bass pulse emerges, forging a pulsating rhythm. The impulse is catchy, and we roll of our neck as soon as elements of metallic percussions stimulate this rhythmic momentum which snakes in vertical a bit further. The piano follows the tangent of the rhythm which continues its relentless ascent in orchestrations that entangle its winds with the scan staccato of the string instruments. Le nombre des noms offers a more enhanced pulsating flow in a cinematic atmosphere where the immaculate one is running through the hissing darkness. Here, like throughout the album, the more the track evolves and the more opaque the ambiences get. A bit like being blown away in a momentary panic. A kind of track that screws itself between our ears, Une seule et même réalité continues this cadenced rise with a rhythmic ritornello winding its way upwards. The climb seems arduous! It takes place in the grainy, acidic breezes above the tunes of a dark, of a black melody, in the style of dramatic French cinema, played by fingers carrying the misery of the world on their shoulders. Égalité des signes also gives this impression that Lyonel Bauchet is carrying the world's pain on his back. It's a slow track, whose ticking rhythm is a source of obsession. Especially when the orchestrations crumble these winds that blow over sound sketches and arabesques whose timbres permute to disintegrate into polychrome dust. Formed somewhat on the elements that make up the opening of Tout ce qui a lieu, Sur ce dont on ne peut parler continues the rhythmic momentum of Le nombre des noms, ending the album with an industrial dance music approach.

TRACTATUS LYRA-ORGANISMUS is the kind of album that is addictive from the moment we fall under its spells. Technically, this happens around the second listen. That is, once our senses have recovered from the first listen. In surreal ambiences and often stitched together with intriguing threads of fear and romance, Lyonel Bauchet succeeds to create a universe unique to his style while conceiving melodious themes that pierce the soul. Like those poems written years ago on the skin of our mal de vivre!

Sylvain Lupari (July 6th, 2023) *****

Available at DiN Music

(NB: Texts in blue are links you can click on)

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