Franck Kartell :: La jetée d’Orly (Bass Agenda)

Rich textures sit with arctic ambience. The gamut is expressed, from despairing depths to elating elegance.

Franck Kartell :: La Jetée d'Orly

Soundtracks and movie music are often cited as major influences by electronic musicians. 1960s Cybermen and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. 70s slashers and Goblin. 80s dystopia and John Carpenter. The litany of muses is extensive. But, rarely do artists apply house, techno or electro to the idea of the film score. Franck Kartell has been creating colder machine compositions for over a decade—with releases for New Flesh, Romance Moderne, Black Leather, Elektrofon—but La Jetée d’Orly ‎sees him shift his focus to the silver screen.

The source material is La Jetee, a 1962 cinematic short about time travel in a post-apocalyptic world. Eight tracks give an audio depiction of Chris Marker’s film, an inspiration for 12 Monkeys. Floating atmospherics floods as the needle takes you into the narrative. Kartell’s electro roots are on display from beginning to end, stony tones countered by warmer undercurrents. But that element of Sci-Fi, that inhuman and inhumane chill of the machine is ever present. Estrangement is evident in the disturbing “Experiences Temporelles.” The motif of time permeates the entire LP. Rhythms, when employed, are metronomic. From the gentle rasps supporting the soaring wonder of “Le Souvenir d’un Visage” to the squelched clicks of “Le Cinquantieme Jour,” it is percussion that ties the album to the passing of minutes, hours, days and years. And it is the subtle complexity that lies behind these beats that gives the LP such impact. Soulful, yet ice-like at times, synths cascade and sail. “L’évadé Du Temps” is the credits and what a run out. A beautiful and immensely involving finale.

I read a lot of blogs and music related sites. One that I’ve really enjoyed over the last year is Glasgow based Pattern Burst. Last week the Scottish blog put electro center stage and how, to an extent, the frostier side of the floor has remained aloof. With this aloofness there is also a strictness associated with the genre. The biting snares, starker sounds juxtaposed by the earlier hip hop soaked funk. But, as Pattern Burst mentions, there is a wonderful diversity within those well-defined walls. La Jetée d’Orly is emblematic of that enviable range. Rich textures sit with arctic ambience. The gamut is expressed, from despairing depths to elating elegance. Simply put, a great record.

La Jetée d’Orly is available on Bass Agenda.

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