TANGRAM: Lustbient (2013)
“When EM can be sensually danceable with ambient rhythms as so effective as dreamy, it gives a soft EM album like Lustbient”
1 Lustbient 3:38 2 After Dark 4:16 3 Sensual Overdrive 5:09 4 Bedroom Diaries 3:41 5 Silk and Blood 4:25 6 Touched by Fire 4:58 7 Venus Miracle 8:30 8 Random Hearts 4:18 9 Mademoiselle Leatherette 5:24 10 The Smokepioneer Lizard 4:12 Tangram Music
(DDL/CD-r 48:34) (V.F.) (Down-tempos, psybient)
On his last album, Layers, Tangram had left as visit a musical card signed of delicious down-tempos and synth-pops to fine psybient aromas. LUSTBIENT borrows the same approach by offering a musical range as much eclectic but resolutely leaning over ambient rhythms. Supple and hypnotic rhythms which are bearing melodies delicately drawn in some complex axes where the lines of harmonies are intertwined and charmed into structures whose parallelism flirts with its contradictions.
And the title-track plunges us straight away into these ambiguous rhythmic moods. But it starts with a metaphysical approach where an angelic voice mumbles imperceptible words which get lost on a soft sequenced rodeo. Tabla percussions resound. They congeal a clanic dance which drums under solos of a synth whose apocalyptic lamentations are whistling such as sirens of war. The rhythms and melodies which fill the last album of Tangram are forming some interesting sonic duels which distance themselves from the usual down-tempos albums. But it's as soon as After Dark moves on that the musical envelope is looming with more neatness. The intro is decorated with paradisiacal breezes which float on the throbbing chords of a bass-line. The percussions are falling. The knocks are curt, sharp and nevertheless drag lustres of dusts. They hammer a soft steady rhythm which waves such as a delicious cosmic down-tempo under the lines of a dreamy synth. Lines which float like leaves falling from a tree and which whistle among fine arpeggios whose tones of prisms forge a delicious earworm. Although more starved, the rhythm of Sensual Overdrive doesn't overflow from the claws of a good down-tempo with tendencies of a moderated psybient with ambiences and harmonies which swim in full contradiction. The sound fauna is organicosmic and spits chirping which erode some synth layers clearly more musical. Bedroom Diaries explains within 4 minutes the phenomenon of Tangram's musical ambiguity where nothing is really simple. The basis is a kind of synth-pop of the Pet Shop Boys years but with a sonic envelope which makes its chords flicker in a motionless sphere where tribal kind of percussions and noises from other distant horizons beautify a musical soundscapes which make the most of what comes along but which hides a superb melodious approach. And these melodies which weave earworms and feed those catchy rhythms abound on this last Peter Fabok's opus. On an effective technoïd rhythm, dominated by sober pulsations and tsitt-tsitt cymbals, Silk and Blood offers two harmonious structures which complement each other and harmonize among a robotics language full of organic gurglings.
Touched by Fire is among the beautiful pearls. It's a slow, but a slow down-tempo where the hammerings of the drum modulate a kind of funeral march. Still there, Tangram shows ingenuity and decorates his structure with sonic elements which attract the hearing. Here this is percussions which sound like breaths of native panpipes on a slow rhythm where are chirping some absent-minded harmonies. Venus Miracle is the longest track here. It offers a delicate structure of minimalist rhythm where percussions and jumping keys synchronize their skipping into some thin stroboscopic rhythmic filets. Dreamer, the synth throws some whistling lines which alternate their harmonies with arpeggios just as much musical. The same pattern goes with Random Hearts which on the other hand offers a heavier rhythm. Difficult to encircle, Mademoiselle Leatherette rolls on a mixture of funk and groove with percussions which roll like in an evasive jazz. The harmonies are braided around crystalline arpeggios which ring of a fascinating aggressiveness on a synth dressed in fuzz wha-wha. The result is as well puzzling as fascinating. The Smokepioneer Lizard ends the universe of LUSTBIENT sound diversity with an ambient structure. It's a concerto for cosmic bells which ring in a nothingness flavored by quirky tones.
At the end, we have to consider Peter Fabok very seriously. The man behind Tangram shows a beautiful musical feather by conceiving shorter tracks without falling in the usual ineptitudes of supposed ambient down-tempos or a supposed EM which tries to make us dance or move rather than to make us daydream. LUSTBIENT shows the same colors as Layers, one of the beautiful albums of EM with colors of IDM as much harmonious as intelligent to have caressed my ears in 2012. When EM can be sensually danceable.
Sylvain Lupari (August 28th, 2013) ***½**
Available at Tangram Bandcamp