First off, a thank you to user silentpotato. If it wasn't for him, I'd never have listened to Horizzzons
or even known it existed. But now, I get the opportunity to rave on and on about the second track on Galerie Stratique's (real name: Charles-Émile Beullac) sophomore album: the marvelously titled and splendidly unfolding 'Jolie Cycliste Sous La Pluie'. As every abstract electronic music fan knows: it's all about the images the artist can project into your head and that certainly goes for 'Jolie Cycliste...'. It's a brooding atmospheric piece, able to pull all the right triggers, with its main melody slowly and shyly creeping its way into one's neuron system and creating a cozy stay there. It marks a departure from Beullac's colder and more clinical approach on his heralded debut Nothing Down-to-Earth
, radiating a certain inviting warmth and enveloping the listener in a glow of ambient excellence.
It's a shame, then, that the other tracks on here can't seem to have the same effect. While nothing to scoff at - the atmosphere Galerie Stratique creates with his foggy and fuzzy melodies is quite exquisite, really - just a bit too often his music comes off as something of a Boards Of Canada clone, albeit a very good one. Still, highlights are plentiful on Horizzzons
, whether it's the hypnotizing 'Smog Urbain', drifting carelessly and taking you along the journey; or the at the same time eerie and dense closer 'Grand Kaleidoscope', which shows that Beullac's ability for manipulating and controlling his synth motives is rivaled by very few of his contemporary IDM colleagues.
On the other hand, songs like 'Cyclotourisme' 'Scorbut' or 'Toundra' just have too little going on to maintain their interest, with too short a playing length to have any lasting impact. It's no wonder the slowest songs are the best on here, because those at least get the time they deserve to fully develop and get under the listener's skin. In the end, however impressive his talent for creating engrossing ambient pieces may be - and mind that producing actual good ambient is not an easy task, despite of a plethora of generic bedroom producers that think otherwise - I still can't shake the feeling that Horizzzons
would have been a stronger release if it contained fewer, but more fleshed out songs.