Le Berger – Expeditions on the Greyscale (2011)

Lessons in beauty: one tiny, two medium and a grand one. On Le Berger‘s Expeditions on the Greyscale (one tiny, two medium and a grand one), four compositions of sparse arrangement set out on a journey through a monotone, shimmering void. An album that etches into an endless bleakness and turns it into emotive and timeless sound art.

c2c2c2 is where it starts, but not really. Eleven seconds long, it gives the impression of being the least minimalist composition on the album.

a0a0a0 sounds busy, haunting and muted. Around the low mids, a ringing sound is rocking back and forth, directionless. Lower frequencies bounce and stumble forth like a gentle pulsating machine, oblivious to its surroundings.  Finally, a confused wailing between voice and string reverberates through the messy surface.

dbdbdb is, as the tint implies, lighthearted and uplifting. Listen to deep, brass-like sound waves treading on the spot, flute-like creatures hopping in between, and a multitude of brimming, slightly rough noises. A bucolic piece, with an almost song-like structure buried in the scenery.

5c5c5c, in every way the grandest track, starts eerily, in the middle of a post-apocalyptic wasteland where the worst is yet to come. Two minutes in, a motif fades in that will lay the foundation for the next half hour; begging and urgent, but ever so slow. For the next thirty minutes, 5c5c5c does not move beyond a state of intense desperation. It remains static, the tension of the tones suspended above an immense sound stage. And from there, glacially, it starts to expand from within: from beyond the horizon of aural perception, frequencies that resemble a rumbling, chaotic choir echo in the background. As the sound grows in strength, it simultaneously seems to move even further away, taking the piece to a strange semi-conclusion; the end of the end.

Released 15 March 2011

1) Don’t go away J (#c2c2c2) (0:11)
2) Pam Pam some’n wild (#a0a0a0) (11:11)
3) Dust it begun (#dbdbdb) (11:11)
4) Bern deep’n’bub (#5c5c5c) (33:33)

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