THOMAS BEL – The Birds Are Still The Monarchs


From Toulouse, France Thomas Bel is the mastermind behind an artefact whose undertones revolve around “poetical texts dealing with the fundamental question of time fleeting but never really settling down”. In reality, the record is almost entirely instrumental – honestly, a couple of sung segments are very much inferior to the rest – moving along the coordinates of a homemade-tinged ambient containing reiterative fragments of undemanding melodies, hesitant electronics and various kinds of dirtiness in the mix, either hiss or just digital dilapidation, not to mention “classic” glitches and the likes. Bel plays a quantity of unspecified instruments: definitely guitars and piano, different keyboards, cello. Other sources exploited are – you guessed it – field recordings.

All in all, the typical “one among the hundreds”, right? Not really. Let’s face it, this kid might not be the reincarnation of the messiah of discreetness, yet his music possesses an indisputable candour that allows us to welcome it without excessive questioning. And the raison d’être of the unrefined loveliness of some of these tracks is spelled “weird resonance”: there’s always something that jars with the concept of accurate tuning, and which renders even a basically worthless snippet sounding acceptable, when not melancholically connecting. This uneven kind of processing is reasonably functional, the man is adequately receptive, the pieces are OK if one doesn’t expect miracles. A marvel this collection surely isn’t, but a non-invasive, nearly soporific, timid aural caress? Yes, no problem. As far as deeper implications are concerned, it looks like I missed at least part of them.

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