Bathyscaphe Road Movie Review

Album. Released 2001.  

BBC Review

...a fine introduction to a label thats putting out some excellent experimental music...

Olli Siebelt 2002

Here comes yet another French label who are doing something really interesting in the field of new experimental music. Ive said it before and Ill say it again - 2002 may just well be the year that France firmly establishes itself on the new music scene.

Bathyscaphe are part of the new breed of post-rock band atmospheric instrumentalists like Godspeed You Black Emperor !, Tortoise and Set Fire To Flames, promoting a musical aesthetic that focuses more on actual performance than cute programming tricks.

Hailing from Paris, the band got their start by doing soundtrack work for film directors such as Lionel Delplanque, Georges Zsiga and Dan Salzmann, and have now released a debut full length which takes this soundtrack concept one step further. On the aptly titled Road Movie, they have indeed constructed a soundtrack to a film of the imagination.

Kicking off with an ambient bed of guitar drone and feedback, the band soon veer off into several directions at once, embracing atmospheric soundscapes, industrial noise, classical string pieces and some very captivating guitar melodies. Tracks like the rhythmically challenging but hypnotic Eyelash take the listener through a complex series of plucked guitar harmonics and sliding bass lines before taking the track into more uptempo waters.

Likewise, the band switch gears on Paluxy River, where they ditch the rock element completely in favour of a gorgeous string quartet that morphs from pristine glacial beauty to tension filled dread. Each of the seven tracks presented here dives into the unknown; there's a wonderful sense of tension and drama that rarely comes across in most music of this genre. If you're familiar with the output of labels like Constellation or Temporary Residence, you'll probably have a good idea of what this sounds like.

For those that arent, Bathyscaphe make a fine introduction to a label thats putting out some excellent experimental music in a country that is absolutely bursting with some really captivating new bands. Id suggest booking that Eurostar ticket pretty soon...

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