Kirmann & Hodge, Piano Interrupted

[Lobe Records]

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Whenever I hear some impressive, left-of-center glacial electronica on a label that begins with “Lo,” my mind tends to jump to the Lo Recordings stable. But one shouldn’t overlook the other Lo’s, especially Lobe Records. Born back in 2007 under the aegis of François Gamaury (aka Franz Kirmann), Roscoe Williamson (aka Arrows!!!) and Matt Watts (aka Debunkt) as a platform for their own projects it’s since released some tasty numbers. For their third release, Lobe looks to Gamaury as he takes his music to a rather beautiful and contemplative place with the help of experimental pianist Tom Hodge. Together they send stately compositions through a digital shredder to come away with something unexpectedly breathtaking — four fractured, but strangely organic tracks which simultaneously evoke thoughts of Autechre, Glacier and solo piano chamber music.

“Piano Interrrupted I” is a glitchy autumnal number with the wavering piano twinkles riding beneath the popping and scratching of what sounds like typewriters and shuffling papers from an pre-industrial revolution office while a mournful, minor key piano refrain rises and wilts within the composition. Part of of its brilliance is the near post dubstep sub-bass which wafts beneath the twinkling highs of the arrangement like if dry ice. “Piano Interrupted II” is a far more dramatic affair. Laced with a warm throbbing sub, this has all the reverb based twinkles, tight digitally augmented percussion and flutes one might expect if Matmos moved into jazzier territory, coming to a close with a rather well placed weeping sax shuffling into the mix to accompany the piano twinkles. Picture “Twin Peaks” era David Lynch and you’ve almost got the mental imagery right.

Being the lovely chaps that they are, Lobe give parts “III” and “IV” away as digital tracks to those who purchase the “7 or mp3s, although both are as beguiling as “I” or “II.” The third of the series blossoms as if an aural daffodil in late spring with a harmonious staccato bass accompanying the simplistic piano line and subdued chimes, yet mid way threatens to become an organic techno cut a la Villalobos, only to return to it’s languid pace. Indeed, I liked it so much I featured it in my Curator’s Cuts podcast. “Piano Interrupted IV” closes the chapter with what sounds like a splintered Hammond organ riff atop some of that cheekier than jowl sub-bass featured earlier, complete with double piano lines which chatter in the background so much suspects it’s a gauntlet thrown down to Booka Shade or Audion to attempt a remix. Apparently this is the first EP of many within this project between Kirmann and Tom Hodge. And I personally must say I can’t wait to hear the rest. Haunting, glistening and, to me at least, infinitely replayable.

Franz Kirmann  on June 3, 2010 at 8:50 AM

Hi Jean-Robert,

Thanks for the write-up. It’s really nice to read an in depth critic of our music. It means a lot to know that some people actually care!
Thanks for your support and time.

Adamm  on June 4, 2010 at 8:56 AM

Thanks for highlighting this wonderful music.


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