Ensemble - Excerpts (3 stars)

Ensemble - Excerpts

(FatCat)

The work of Montreal-based composer Olivier Alary, who has worked with Björk, Cat Power and Lou Barlow, this album is the follow-up to his debut on Rephlex, Sketch Proposals. Flitting somewhere between measured ambience and bold pop composition, its rich and immersive sound reflects Alary’s other occupations as soundtrack artist, exhibition composer and musical arranger.

Sung in both French and English by Alary and regular collaborator Darcy Conroy, the record flits with beautifully calm assurance between otherworldly sound experiments with the Gallic oddity of a Caro and Jeunet film (‘Valse Des Objets Trouvés’, ‘Things I Forget’), electronic folk pieces (‘Imprints’) and exercises in relatively straightforward orchestral pop, with Conroy’s vocal lending them the air of Stereolab (‘Les Saisons Viennent’ and the title track).

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