Album review: Nicolas Godin - Contrepoint
PUBLISHED: 15:01 09 October 2015
Novel theme for Air co-founder’s solo debut does’t quite pay off, says Stephen Moore.
After seven albums with cool lounge electronica hotshots Air, Godin has broken free for a dabble in related waters on his own.
Tacitly admitting the band had reached a creative cul de sac, there are early signs of an exciting new direction in this collection, as throaty electric guitar burns through the electronic haze of opening number Orca.
There’s mildly diverting percussion and plangent wind instrumentation in Bach Off, and some novel turns sprinkled throughout, but it’s not sustained or hugely inspired.
The talking head who pops up halfway through Glenn to pronounce that, performers must nowadays “try to find a raison d’etre that is somehow different”, turns out to be cruelly ironic and does Godin no favours.
The voice belongs to Glenn Gould, a celebrated Canadian concert pianist whose recitations of Bach inspired Godin; in fact each track here uses a piece by the composer as its starting point.
Bach Off feels the closest to its baroque origins, but on the likes of Club Nine, which goes around in circles dressed in jazz piano and hi-hat, you’d be hard-pressed to trace the lineage.
The chiming notes, saintly choir, soft brass and spindly strings of Elfe Man, which bookends the album, is arguably its prettiest moment and may point to where Godin’s songwriting talents lie.
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