Boomkat Product Review:
Olivier Alary first blipped on our radar when he released the understated and addictive 'Sketch Proposals' on Rephlex some years back, since then he has gone on to produce tracks for Bjork and amass a number of quite significant collaborators - Sebadoh's Lou Barlow, Chan Marshall (Cat Power) and Mileece on this album alone. Giving a nod of respect to Stereolab on the opening track 'Summerstorm' this features Lo Recordings' Mileece on vocals accompanying an upbeat and surprisingly dense production. For a producer well known for his minimal elecronics and restraint, Alary has made a surprising turn with this album, which practically celebrates excess - drums, guitars and of course layer upon layer of synthesizers. It works brilliantly and on 'Summerstorm' Ensemble creates a future pop anthem, multitracked vocals and tricky drum parts giving it a mainline into the veins of art-pop fans everywhere. With a brief electronic interlude we're onto 'One Kind two Minds', the exciting collaboration with Lou Barlow. Alary takes his time with the opening, restraining his production urges and carefully building static crackles and synthesized drones beneath Barlow's voice and a softly strummed acoustic guitar. Three minutes in though and a dense shoegazer distortion comes in with a reverberating crunch - a payoff that works wonders. Although never reaching the cloud-punching jubilation of My Bloody Valentine it approaches a similar production sentiment, Alary seems eager to distort pop in such a way that pushes it out of the realms of the regular and into a fuzzy land of radio static and tape hiss. By the time we reach the majestic single 'Disown, Delete', a collaboration with Cat Power herself Chan Marshall, Alary's skill becomes blaringly obvious as he crafts a haunting, minimal track around Marshall's mesmerising drawl. The album draws to a satisfying close on the fizzing ambience of 'For Good', leaving you submerged in an effervescent world of pseudo pop and experimental electronic excess. The word 'ensemble' has rarely felt more appropriate - a highly recommended album.