BRUIT ≤ head into ‘creation without constraints ‘ on their four track album of ambient Post Rock / modern classical soundscapes
Release date: 2nd April 2021
Label: Elusive Sound
Post-Rock, modern classical, call it what you will. It takes the Rock band meets orchestra idea and condenses it into a pocket-sized package. Jo Quail has already been inventing what the cello can bring to the outer boundaries and BRUIT ≤ is doing a similar (and sterling) job.
The French quartet’s MO of research and experimentation in the studio sounds remotely like an academic exercise. However, cast your minds back to roughly ’67 when The Beatles and George Martin were looping and backward tracking and constantly asking “what if…” It’s a philosophy that’s become much more widespread and commonplace. Dare we even mention the word ‘progressive’?
The result is a set of four tracks that engage with the tropes of the Post Rock template yet nudge and tweak the music into areas where the dynamics are emphasised and expanded. When the band says that “We don’t consider this album to be a compilation of separate tracks but more like a poetic interlude where every moment introduces the next. The listener will only sporadically be guided towards a theme or a voice and will instead find meaning by surrendering to the intangible atmospheres that allow the listener to create their own narratives,” it does sound like some concession to highbrow ambition. Particularly when the creation comes described as “an existential tale describing a humanity that experiences apocalypse and rebirth.”
Having duly justified the cerebral elements, whatever the goals may be, the music delivers a challenging listen. Industry is introduced with washes of ambience before what to some ears will be a world music rhythm, combines with electronic swatches and that haunting cello. A slow build leads to the anticipated epicentre where the limits are pushed before the comedown and spoken word passage and orchestral epilogue. Renaissance adopts a gentler ambience. With a tumble of guitar notes you can picture yourself circling over Hergest Ridge. The cello lulls rather than injecting a searing shrill into your brain and the dynamics of the piece are less pronounced. Just a brief passing of distant thunder where everything collides, provides a break in the reverie.
Amazing Old Tree is cut from similar cloth. Again, the simplicity stands out; this time in the space given to drips of notes (shades of the Floyd’s Echoes anyone?) and the reappearance of a distant voice. An ode to tranquility and a calming presence that suddenly switches tack over the final few moments, taking on a darker edge. It provides the prelude to The Machine Is Burning that rounds things off with an escapade into epic realms. The orchestral/classical introduction paves the way with a swell as the cello starts a discordant journey. The clouds part, the heavens open and the instruments merge into a controlled and mighty Post Rock crescendo. A climax seemingly reached, it juts continues to spill over. Inevitably, the comedown provides a sharp contrast.
The Post Rock framework may be a familiar one but The Machine is Burning … is an immersive trip, exploring new ways through the unknown.
Here’s the official music video for Renaissance: