Sometimes where an artist ends up can be a fair distance from where they started. An example of this is Christopher Dicker, who has gone from being the vocalist of a Screamo/Metalcore band to solo piano modern classicist. Fellow Australian Brendon John Warner started out in the Post Metal/Post Rock band We Lost The Sea. The links between Post Rock and Electronic forms of music are highlighted by the likes of Mogwai and Explosions In The Sky, so moving from the Post Rock scene to a more Electronic one has succesful precedents. With this transition you can see through the execution of the pieces of his debut “La Fonte” have made their mark.
“A testament to his multifaceted musical background, Brendon, a trombone student at an early age, later picked up a guitar and joined Australian Post Rock band We Lost The Sea. For 8 years Brendon wrote, recorded and toured Australia with the group, after which he began pulling a long lingering creative thread leading down a different musical path. As his interest in synthesis and lo-fi electronics took over his compositional work, he decide to leave the band and dedicate himself to a more radical, contemporary musical view focused on contrasts, textures, dynamics and spatial relationships and instrumentation.”
“Édifier” introduces the listener to the artists sound world where micro melodies play amongst string drones with tiny passages of fragile piano punctuating the soundscape. An interesting choice for the title of the opening track, it’s as if Warner is stating what he is standing for, musically and personally. With a small hint of electronica woven into its tapestry, the music is predominantly modern classical with an ambient soul. Retro synth lines that share similar qualities to the drones and piano add to the depth and feel of the track and fill out the sound. With no intention to rush his way into the music, you could imagine that Warner is using the musical knowledge honed from those years in the band and extending this knowledge and techniques to his current work. The music feels at times symphonic, there is tension building and with the various styles included, an openess to the music.
“Sentinelles” the vinyl crackle and chimes bring feelings of nostalgia straight away. The muddy sort of tones also conjures pouring rain outside and being secure inside. The music while being low-key is by no means minimal with flickering snatches of sound that move, warp, come into focus and then disappear. As the piece continues melodies start to grow more and the sound changes in its presence. Drones flow in long linear fashion, synth lines search outwards and the music starts to become very dense with multiple levels of sound being independent and also combining together. After the ten minute mark the sound changes from its whimsical and fragile opening to something more orchestral and large-scale in nature. Electronics pulse in below the surface threatening to take it in an IDM vein, but instead the progressive sounding dark Synths of earlier works take over before the track approaches noisier territory. If you were to play the opening five minutes and the last five to ten minutes you would have two different worlds, but the track moves very organically throughout its twenty-two minutes. The final last-minute or so brings us back full circle with the detritus soaked tones returning.
“La Jeunesse Relative” aka “Relative Youth” is a subtle affair with minimal tones, natural piano sounds, field recordings and sounds of the recording environment giving you the feeling of something recorded at the crack of dawn, where everything is silent, the sun is about to rise and the day is new. The piece allows space for the notes to hang and slowly dissipate, which adds to the pure and innocent, if slightly introspective feel of the piece.
“États” opens with the darkest sounds on the album and feels like a looped track has been copied and copied and reduced to the point that is a ghostly presence of the original. Sounding like a rumble of piano it makes sense that clearer piano comes over alongside minimal jazz like percussion with brushings of cymbals and beats that sound removed from the instrument. Glitchy tones congregate and flutter over the top bringing with them a vibrant, but innocent touch to the now multi layered track. Electronics that mutate into almost beats, flash rapidly giving depth and texture without over complicating the sound pallet. Suddenly all bar those original fractured loops drop out with only faintest piano stabs audible. After mutating and reducing, Warner heads into the fourth movement which is a variation of the second, but with a more pounding and industrial-esque beat with orchestral flourishes. You see with a track like this how is previous musical activities have assisted in his current explorations of sound, in the way that he constructs his pieces and how they have the epic hallmarks you find in post rock.
“La Fonte” a reverberating piano stab fades to silence creating a ripple like effect, before a build up that resembles an impending storm, starts to sweep over the soundscape. The storm consists of drones, electronics, cymbal washes and makes way for minimal beats and a collection of slightly scraping sounding loops that I guess could reference the title (The Melt) quite nicely. Layered sections of piano, crisp squelching beats and rumbling bass lines moves the piece into a downtempo feel that acts as a nice balance of modern classical, ambient and electronica influences. From this the music transitions into a darker synth dominated progressive section (which looking into Warner’s previous band makes sense). This section changes the tone of the piece entirely as it moves away from its minimal beginnings to a more assertive and intense and pounding finale which brings forth a sense of alarm or a call to attention.
The album produced by Antonia Gauci (Kučka, Keisha) and mastered by Rafael Anton Irisarri (aka The Sight Below) showcases great sound and is a varied triumph. The tracks featured all have individual characteristics, but reveal the artists musical stamp throughout them. There is no rushing or over crowding. The tracks have had time to evolve and grow and the modern classical, electronic and post rock elements that are woven into their fabric work so well. “La Fonte” is a rewarding album that can easily be put on repeat and listened to over and over. Recommended. The album is available digitally from November 21st.