Bill Seaman
f (noir)


4.6
superb

Review

by StrangerofSorts EMERITUS
February 28th, 2015 | 39 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The best album on Eilean Records is also the most depressing.

f (noir) is a debut solo effort, but Bill Seaman has the intimidating résumé of a man devoted to art: of someone who has dedicated a good amount of life to instillation art, experimental musical collaborations and art academia. Someone who, from a critic's perspective, is frankly quite terrifying.

It gives an obvious explanation for f (noir)'s maturity. Bill's delicacy in exploring the alienation of city life cannot be overstated, nor can his harrowing treatment of the passing of time. In the self-shot video to 'Endings 2', monochrome cityscape stills gently fade into each other: contrasting colossal concrete structures with the accelerated yet minuscule dots of life scurrying inside. Drones spill over an endless textural static, piano notes ring out forever, metallic rings get no reply and all the while you can't help but notice how dehumanised his shots are. Zoom out far enough and the distinguishing features of a human being are headlights and illuminated windows.

To me, f(noir) is about the fact that somewhere deep inside the inanimate structure there are people, and their part in the macro-system is brief. Bill hangs abstract textures and electro-acoustic collages between structured piano chords to create hypnotic, repeating landscapes which always seem at risk of collapsing into the surrounding drone yet never quite do so. In comparison, his use of sampled voice, strings or brass is distinguished, but lacks constancy. This romantic, meandering instrumentation presses back at the surrounding world only to find it doesn't move an inch.

The trumpet in 'The Undoing of Time' sees f (noir) at its most heartbreaking. Like an estranged jazz improvisation to an empty room, it shuffles through the silence before joined by another and some equally weary strings in a move feeling not so much like consolation as solidarity. Bill's world is spellbinding, but it is incredibly bleak.

In a manner fitting its subject, f (noir) goes about itself with a detached disinterest. The humanity in Bill's compositions is closed-eyes, head-back gorgeous, but weighed down with a kind of cynical resignation as if the individual parts are completely aware of their own insignificance. The album then becomes less of a call for help and more of a despairing reflection: a pause for thought tied to a depressing yet beautiful mutual understanding.




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user ratings (21)
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
StrangerofSorts
Emeritus
February 28th 2015


2905 Comments

Album Rating: 4.6

I want to say a huge (huge!) thank you to Mathias (aka. Monolyth & Cobalt) for both running Eilean Records and for letting me get hold of the album a week early. I haven't listened to anything else since.

Pre-order: https://eileanrec.bandcamp.com/album/f-noir

Video for 'Endings 2': https://vimeo.com/119539227

The review's fluffy because it couldn't be anything else. Tell me if it is too fluffy though , and I'll scurry back to the tongue-in-cheek, description based reviews from whence I came.

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
February 28th 2015


6743 Comments


oo I'm excited for this

one thing:
"detached disinterest."
seems redundant to me.

StrangerofSorts
Emeritus
February 28th 2015


2905 Comments

Album Rating: 4.6

it is a little bit, but I think it works okay in place of 'really fucking disinterested' ;)

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
February 28th 2015


6743 Comments


based on the tracks currently streaming, you might be right in saying this could be the best the label has put out

StrangerofSorts
Emeritus
February 28th 2015


2905 Comments

Album Rating: 4.6

Big toss up with the Holykindof album for the title- but yeah, it's fantastic

Archelirion
February 28th 2015


5901 Comments


From what's out there so far, this sounds really really good. Nicely disconcerting.

Review was class by the way.

ExplosiveOranges
February 28th 2015


4408 Comments


Already pulling out the big avatars and 0.1 ratings? smh. Review is solid, though. You think I'd dig this?

StrangerofSorts
Emeritus
February 28th 2015


2905 Comments

Album Rating: 4.6

I know, I'm dreadful - save me from myself!

I honestly don't know. I've embedded the album preview, and there are four tracks streaming on bandcamp (and another on vimeo), which are linked in the first post. Check it out.

ComeToDaddy
March 1st 2015


1805 Comments


Never heard of this artist or any of the recommended section, I bet this is gonna be good

ComeToDaddy
March 1st 2015


1805 Comments


That album preview was unbelievably gorgeous. It doesn't remind me of anything I've heard before, which is the first time that's happened in a long while

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
March 1st 2015


4484 Comments


"from a critics perspective"

otherwise phenomenal review! might check this

StrangerofSorts
Emeritus
March 1st 2015


2905 Comments

Album Rating: 4.6

everyone's a critic... ;)

Observer
Staff Reviewer
March 1st 2015


7245 Comments


nice write up. describes the preview well, so im hyped



Digging: Armchairpolitician - Seven Segment Decoder

SowingSeason
Moderator
March 2nd 2015


32723 Comments


"More like Bill Semen amirite?"

I got excited when I saw the first few comments actually didn't make this obviously bad joke, but this is Sputnik so I guess it had to happen eventually.


Digging: Low Roar - ross.

Scoot
March 2nd 2015


19525 Comments


this sounds cool

Digging: Great Grandpa - Four of Arrows

Phlegm
March 2nd 2015


7248 Comments


loving all the ambient coverage lately! can't wait to listen to this

Phlegm
March 2nd 2015


7248 Comments


sample tracks are all gorgeous, sucked into pre-ordering that CD!

CaptainDooRight
March 2nd 2015


4191 Comments


!!!!!!!!!RULES HARD!!!!!!!

Digging: Cadacross - So Pale Is The Light

JokineAugustus
March 2nd 2015


8968 Comments


That last name sucks and blows though

robin
Emeritus
March 2nd 2015


4594 Comments


eilean are a fucking amazing label. not checked this yet but i've such warm feelings towards their output. it's like home normal but a fairy tale



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