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This Weekend I’ll Mostly be Listening to… Stellar OM Source January 17, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to..., Uncategorized.
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Stellar OM Source or Christelle Gualdi, for it is she. I loved Heartland’s Suite from her from 2009 – though a very very different creature to her most recent album, 2013’s Joy One Mile. JOM is an almost elemental workout, percussion stripped away almost to nothing before clattering back in, synths that appear and disappear with a staccato like effect, thumping bass lines. It’s organic and energetic, multi-layered with tracks diverting in odd unexpected directions at any and all points.

Tracks like Polarity manage to bridge the gap between kosmiche and techno and there’s a sense of humour at work too. The shooting star sounds at the end of Polarity point to her musical origins, but also seem to hint at more. Par Amour incorporates ‘Motions in Love’ by Lovie throughout its length. I’m reminded of some of the Warp samplers from the late 1990s where there was an effort to integrate vocal samples, but where they sought to distress and distort them here the intention is to merge them, not quite as songs per se but close enough despite the samples being cut up and sequenced off the beat at times.

That point about Warp is perhaps useful, as a reference. The incorporation of acid house and Detroit that was evident in some of that label’s output is seen here too. But that’s not to say this is merely a retread of former glories. For a start Gauldi is coming from a different starting point.

The Range has a big doomy bass, The 303 in Trackers spins by at a breathless speed, the synths fading in and out into broader musical landscapes that reference, Elite Excel a nagging melodic pull that disperses and then returns set against almost ambient synths in parts. Fascination, at least in its initial part nods to her own past with its sparkling distanced keyboards but with an urgency driven by the percussion that positions it perfectly in the contemporary. There’s much more, not least a fine remix of Elite Excel and a concluding track proper, Natives/Most Answers Never Veiled which is a near perfect synthesis of many of the albums tropes.

There’s a restraint here and a clear ability to fuse different musical aesthetics into a compelling vision. And a sense of the potential in more mainstream forms to be integrated into more difficult ones without losing the power of either.

And that restraint feeds into the relative brevity of the album, seven tracks and a remix. Some have wondered at the power balance between Gauldi and ‘arranger’ Gunnar Wendel, and yet, listen to parts of Heartland’s Suite – Detachment Prelude is a good example, or her spell-binding version of 1847 – Earth from the Harald Grosskopf covers album Re-Synthesist, released in 2011 – and it is clear Gauldi’s instincts were already tilting towards this general area.

Hat tip, by the way, to EamonnCork, currently in exile from this parish though much missed, quite some time ago for pointing me towards her output. And I have a feeling at least one person who contributes here has heard her live.

Polarity

Par Amour

Trackers

Elite Excel

1847 – Earth (from Re-Synthesist, cover of Harald Grosskopf)

from Heartland’s Suite – Grace I

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