Thursday, October 26, 2006

Ensemble

Posted on Thu, Oct 26, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Ensemble
Label: Fat Cat
Length: LP
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: Ensemble
Ensemble's first electronic/orchestral full-length for Fat Cat moves quietly into place with what sounds like a failing speaker-phone connection ' a few dissipating seconds of nearly inaudible drone introduce an only occasional smallness here. Transcendent opener 'Summerstormâ?� is a joint affair, with guest vocalist/songwriter Mileece on board alongside Ensemble's founder Olivier Alary. The partnership yields shimmering pop at first that spreads tambourines and digital whimsicality in the foreground. Its loveliness is aptly detailed in the track's title, with the suggested storm's disorder lifting off when resequenced drum tracks from Adam Pierce enter, punctuated by ample cymbal crashes. Mileece, a Montreal-based electronic musician in her own right, leaves a mark on Ensemble that isn't easily forgotten, and rivals that of Chan Marshall (aka Cat Power)'s work on 'Disown, delete.â?� Its expansive string swirls and fraying acoustic guitar melody have earned 'Disown, deleteâ?� considerable acclaim as a single, but it's an integral kernel of Ensemble: With Marshall's glum, eventually soaring vocal in notable contrast to Mileece's bright delivery, the big/small, cheery/dark duality is welcome.

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