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(35:04, Dreaming Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. News 11th March 2011 1:28 2. Reactor-1 5:58 3. Reactor-2 4:30 4. Reactor-3 4:47 5. Reactor-4 6:29 6. Reactor-5 5:33 7. Reactor-6 6:19 SOLO PILOT: Stephane Marchal – all instruments
Prolusion. MARBOSS is the creative handle of French composer and instrumentalist Stephane Marchal. He's been an active solo artist using this moniker since the late 90's, with five productions to his name so far to my knowledge. "Fukushima Daaichi" is the most recent of these, and was released on the Dreaming imprint of the French label Musea Records in the spring of 2011.
Analysis. March 11th 2011 is a date that will be remembered in Japan. A massive tsunami hit parts of the nation, destroying whole cities and causing a major disaster of historical proportions. Besides the extreme human grief and despair caused by this, Japan also faced one of the most feared situations in some technologically advanced nations: a nuclear meltdown. And it was this part of the disaster that Marboss decided to focus on when he performed at a relief concert in benefit for Japan in the spring of 2011. The recording of this performance was subsequently released on CD, named after the nuclear plant where the danger of meltdown was imminent: "Fukushima Daiichi". Opening this performance is a rather ordinary mood piece, basically consisting of a news report on top of a fluctuating synth texture: cinematic and atmospheric, but without too much musical merit. The lyrical contents are chilling reminders of what went down on March 11th of course, but this creation is a rather ordinary piece in terms of pure musical enjoyment. But it is also a vital piece of this performance, as fragments of this opening piece are effectively utilized throughout the rest of this disc, mostly as recurring elements, as shades, echoes and fragments of this brief initial piece are pulled into the six following chapters. And in the cuts named Reactor 1 to 6 we're treated to music with more of a tantalizing expression, basically consisting of two types of compositions. On Reactor-2 and Reactor-4 we're treated to compositions taking their cues from 80's synth pop, late 70's Kraftwerk and early 80's Tangerine Dream – machine-like, energetic rhythms, fluctuating synth textures, and a slightly cold and alien atmosphere, the former featuring extended use of effects-treated voice fragments from the opening track and a slight emphasis on 80's synth pop, the latter with a firmer base on instrumental textures, sound effects and a stylistic expression closer to the aforementioned German electronic masters. The other parts of the performance have more of an emphasis on dream-laden atmospheres and cinematic moods, but with an experimental edge to them: cold, sterile and alien sounds, dampened rhythms fluctuating as undercurrents, machine-inspired effects and an overall mood with a haunting, brooding feel to it. A recurring trait in all of these is rich, partially majestic lead motifs, with an array of additional sounds and effects coming and going. Final cut Reactor-6 features an amazingly effective display of what I'd describe as water-inspired sounds, as the most striking of these sound effects, the partially broken and distorted electronic rhythms effectively used in Reactor-3 another instance of a segment given an identity by the addition of unique nuances. When that is said, the level of experimentation is at a subtle level rather than a challenging and dominating one. As far as electronic music goes this is material of an accessible nature, flavored with dampened but effective sounds and textures that will please those who enjoy savoring the finer details.
Conclusion. With "Fukushiima Daiichi" French artist Marboss has managed to create an effective electronic composition, one creation divided into six parts that manages to conjure up alien and partially scary atmospheres. Fitting for the theme covered I should imagine, and made in an accessible manner. I'd estimate that fans of Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream might be a key audience for this production, and in particular those who like the late 70's efforts of the former and the early 80's of the latter.
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