THOMAS BEL – Innerly

Annexia

I should start by declaring my absolute unawareness, among gazillions of other matters, of German poet Johannes Bobrowski (1917-1965) whose work apparently lies at the basis of Innerly. From a quick glance at Wikipedia one gathers that this man was very responsive to East European landscapes, and also an expert in the cultures of the people inhabiting several of those regions. Thomas Bel, who is French instead, tried to set into music the effect of Bobrowski’s words; to do this, he chose an instrumental palette mostly made of crepuscular hues, fragments of melancholic melodies (guitars, piano and cello as instantly recognizable sources) and a few touches of field recordings besides his voice.

Starting from the latter constituent, the segments in which Bel whispers and wheezes (the texts are voluntarily kept under a level of serious intelligibility in the mix) are, in all honesty, the less enticing ones. But by considering the sonic product as a whole, attributing the same value of an environmental component to those non-invasive gravelly susurrations, this is a politely cheerless good album that places itself in the middle of a line connecting various artists who use fairy-tale humidity and dim pastels as methods of expression. Indeed, its best attribute is perhaps the difficulty of sticking it with a “sounds like..” tag, despite the incidence of acoustic after-effects that you might have heard in a number of distantly related projects. Let’s play a bit of “name game”: a spongy facsimile of Richard Skelton meets a representative of Fovea Hex (in absence of Clodagh Simonds) at Eno’s mansion, a drunk David Tibet mixing the outcome while immersed to his thighs within the slimy waters of a marsh, influenced by Pink Floyd’s calmer selections from A Saucerful Of Secrets and More).

Almost dismissed at the outset, the CD is being liked more and more as the amount of spins increases. For a cold, rainy day such as that we’re subjected to at this moment, it’s just about ideal. Never give up without a second try.

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