Music inspired by the film Last Year at Marienbad
It's a thrilling and magical, climaxing with the eardrum-piercing squall of a WWII air raid siren and the dive-bombing blitzkrieg of warplanes.
Sequence No. 2 uses some the same elements, but subtracts the overt sexuality, the canine outbursts and the Nazi attack, leaving only 50 minutes of overlapping, interwoven vocals from Amantine Dahan Steiner and Isabelle Gaborit, all of which are exclusively en francais.
Steven Stapleton and Colin Potter utilize the various utterances, hums, whispers, recitations, laughs, breathy coos, and vibrational oms of the two women to create a suggestive ambient tangle of ghostly, gossamer thread.
The vocals create soothing undulations, tantalizingly linguistic but staying just out of reach of full comprehension, improbably panning around the stereo channels with a logic that would only make sense in a dream.
Indeed, the album is ideal for headphone listening, provided you don't mind two disembodied voices spookily reciting French words in your ears for almost an hour.
The title of this album and its predecessor seem to be consciously retrograde allusions to classic musique concrete pieces (i.e. Edgar Varese's "Poeme Electronique"), even though it's much more likely that Potter and Stapleton have used digital means, rather than analog, to create these highly-constructed, multilayered compositions.
The black-and-white cover art seems a little grainy and chintzy, but it's hard to tell if this was intentional or not.
Though the entire album is undeniably beautiful and haunting, it refuses to develop, transform or build drama during its considerable length.
It ends right where it begins, and in between is more of the same.
No one is going to accuse Echo Poeme of being Steven Stapleton's most exciting work, but it does have a consistently ravishing, gorgeous, mesmerizing beauty that makes it very worthwhile tangent.
1 Echo Poeme: Sequence N° 2 [Поэма Эхо: Секвенция №2] 48:55
Old Europa Cafe AVS