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Simples Visions by Harpagès (Review)

Melodium attempts to take purely electronic arrangements and make them sound organic and natural.
Simples Visions - Harpages

Originally composed in 2003 to be shown in conjunction with a minimalist film by Arnaud Boulogne, Simples Visions meanders through a wide range of sonic elements over the course of its 28 minutes. Serene, yet alien drones and hums open the disc, with unnerving little bits of glitch and aural debris nipping away at the song’s periphery. It immediately puts the listener in a rather surreal environment; perhaps it’s because I’ve been on an Andrei Tarkovksy kick lately, but I picture sagging powerlines and crumbling antennae stretching across Stalker’s otherworldly landscape.

By the 8 minute mark, sparse guitars have begun creeping in, lending some semblance of structure and motion to the song, but doing so rather reluctantly. The song eventually loses interest and moves on to other elements, and by the time it winds down, has toyed with piping, sing-song synths, unearthly wails, fragments of glitch-folk, buffeting static, and middle-eastern chants.

It’s amazing how this piece sculpts the listening environment around you. At one point, I thought I heard a plane pass overhead, only to realize it was the song’s throbbing electronics playing a trick on me. Along with the Arkitechur disc I reviewed last month, Simples Visions is one of the more intriguing (and unnerving) drone-oriented pieces I’ve heard in quite some time. Fans of Silber’s output would do well to check it out.

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