Review Summary: This isn’t just "music for three pregnant women", this is music for all of us to cherish.
French Canadian electronic musician Marc Leclair knew exactly what his mindset was when making this album and it's pretty obvious. His wife was pregnant with along with a few of her friends and what a better way to go through the tedious journey to the miracle of birth then to create an album based on the moods of different intervals in her pregnancy. While he’s made a lot of stuff under his pseudonym Akufen like My Way
, Blu TribunL
and even Fabric 17
touching the genres of minimal techno and microhouse , this album is a lot more minimal, sleep-inducing, beautifully layered and ambient when compared to those albums. To me, to express pregnancy through an ambient album where one can feel relaxed and also feel like they're watching their journey and events that happen through this, is very fitting to the overall mood of the album. Each song represents a day in the life during pregnancy with titles such as “1er jour”, “33e jour” and leading all the way up till “236e jour”, which is roughly around 8 months. As I listen to the album I visualize Marc Leclair and his wife anticipating the arrival of the baby, telling their friends about it, going through the pains of pregnancy, reminiscing about how their lives will turn out because of a child etc. You won’t hear a lot
of micro-sampling or techno/house sounding songs on this album; just pure euphoric ambient/glitch music as you experience this magnum opus of an album.
First of all, I don’t necessarily judge an album by its cover, but that is a beautiful album cover and it predicts what the album might sound like. A lonely basketball net in the middle of the sea showcases a relaxing and alienated nature unlike his other work. Another thing about this album is that every song flows into each other portraying each mood as different stages of birth come into place. From the get go of the album we’re introduced to the first song “1er Jour”, in which Marc Leclair is also accompanied by another musician by the name of Rechenzentrum, and just as I suspected from the album cover, it is exactly how it looks. A reverberated and airy synthesizer hums beautifully sounding minor notes as the whole song descends into a relaxing glitch ambient soundscape as we realize that the child is just discovered inside of the mother’s womb and they’re now anticipating a happy future. Electronic beats come into the picture and, yes they’re very micro-sounding, with very high frequency glitch beats. Having that aspect of the album makes the album less fluid than it is and it adds a more stiff and robotic feel to contrast the overwhelming relaxing feeling of the song. The song goes on like this for 8 and a half minutes and it’s safe to say that the next two tracks on the album are very melancholic. Starting at where “1er jour” ending off “33e Jour” and “64e Jour” portray a lot of emotion as we enter a different mood. The feeling of these two songs gives us the impression that this is a tough time for Marc Leclair and his wife as she seems depressed as she learns what the responsibilities of being a mother will be like (of course I’m just making this up, but the music gives you that sort of feeling). These two songs feature these odd washy rhythms, not necessarily beats but they’re backed up by a very melancholic sounding synth pad and it sounds beautiful. Once these 14 minutes are over you wish you could still hear them, but the album moves right along to the next stage.
“85e Jour” is a pure ambient song that loses its stiffness, but keeps the glitchy nature of the previous tracks. Melodies cut in and out and they’re backed up by the sound of rain in a thunderstorm showing that the mother is getting more acquainted with the child and is starting to relax. It is a beautiful sounding song and it shows a lot of calming emotion. As we hear the last sound of thunder we lead into the next two songs where we hear a glitched out guitar. We’re brought back to the feelings that the first song gave us with the less fluid sounds and robotic feeling and as “114e Jour” lead into “150e Jour” we experience more of a happier side of the album where the glitched out guitars and beats portray a happier mood in Marc Leclairs life. We see that Marc Leclair has a sophisticated way of dealing with this now and the sound on “150e Jour” can be compared to, more or less, a more glitch version of flamenco music. This is a beautiful way to change the entire mood of the album as it shows that he has a lot of diversity in his music and just how talented of an electronic musician he is.
With saying this, the next song “180e Jour” is a bit of a stretch from the 18 minutes of guitar induced glitch that followed. We’re introduced to a bunch of sounds that have a lot of effects, but there aren’t really any notes that cover them. It mainly sounds like dark ambient/drone. As the song progresses, however, it turns into the most minimal/micro song and least fluid song on the entire album. With calm, but extremely “micro” sounding beats that jump around all over the place that cover up a beautiful calm sounding synth pad. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what kind of mood he and his wife are into at this point after 180 days. The song is very robotic and stiff, but it leaves you wondering. Now, unlike the rest of the album, this song ends abruptly and moves onto “205e Jour” where it sounds like jazz or lounge music right off the get go. This song is wonderfully relaxing and now you get the mood that their almost ready to have the baby and they seem very happy as Marc Leclair edges back to his Akufen ego on the last song on the album “236e Jour” where the glitch/ambient sounds that were in his previous songs are suddenly gone and replaced with a beautiful, calming minimal techno song as he realizes that he now has a full family and can now return back to what he once was.
This album has a way of getting into your head and staying there for a long time. It is a smorgasbord of diverse, intricately layered and beautiful electronic glitch music. The production on this album is very nice and clean and some people may think that it has a few discrepancies with different sounds, instruments, beats and not to mention a few ear-piercing moments, but he couldn’t possibly have made this album any better. With everything sounding balanced and having different beats sound individual from one another. Some rhythms resonate in one speaker/headphone and others resonate in the other. Every song is like a new breath of fresh air as it delivers a series of different voices of his wife and new family. This is personally one of my favorite albums of all time as it really makes you think, not to mention that it is ultra-relaxing. Again this is another one of those albums that requires you to listen to it multiple times. While his work as Akufen is pretty good with a great overall “microhouse” sound, it doesn’t compare to the epic masterpiece he has presented us with on this.