The amorous cooing and slowly unfolding, finely-tuned, sculptured soundscapes of Bix Medard prove a challenge to define or sum up in any review. Part conceptual, and partly recondite yearning pop; the pairing of Norwegian chanteuse flute player Bix, and her Belgian sparring partner Peter Clasen – also known as Medard – are often filed under the “nouvelle chanson Française” tag, which goes some way towards explaining their brand of Euro-rich synth and live instrument sound. Bix switches between dialects; breathlessly wooing, dictating or incidental meandering in French, English, Italian and Japanese; all the while a much understated, yet acutely arranged and executed, trip-hop backing track underwrites each of the 12 oblique traversing songs.
Strains of Portishead can be heard throughout, as well as the occasional reference to Holger Czukay‘s U-She collaboration – especially on their more melodic synthesized string moments – and even nods to Pil. On the moronic slow-jazz thriller, Apart, they rework Blondies ‘Sunday Girl’ for the ambient trance market, and filter the Pola X and Toxic Affair soundtrack compositions of Scott Walker, with a touch of Outside era Bowie, for Sur Les Marches.
Bix Medard’s second opus is pretty generous, with a running time of nigh on an hour, though their indolent coquettish drifting musical suites can be laboured – there’s at least four tracks that could safely lose a minute, before they fizzle out and run their course. ‘Take A Deep Breath’ isn’t just an album title, it’s also an instruction for the experience you’re about to partake of: submerged in a post Factory Records haze of drowning electro art.
So far one of 2011’s more inventive and intriguing albums
Release date: 6th June 2011