Review: Bouchons d'Oreilles - Faces

coverWhen the noise dies down on opening track “Storyteller”, I hear a quivering layer of static. This is as close as the record comes to stillness. When everything else vacates – the strange electronic signals that sway erratically like fire hoses, the contorted tubes of classical music – all that’s left is the album’s primal desire to fidget; the crinkly muscle that drives the restless nature of Faces. Because even though some of the sounds here are soft to the touch (the dim tremolo pulses on “Decoy”, for example, or the squashed violins on “The Errant One”), they are characterised by a shivery, contorted sense of movement. They wriggle into the gaps and press into the seams, desperately searching for new spaces in which to creep and flex, frantically staving off death through movement alone.

After the three shorter pieces illustrate this kinetic impulse, the record’s second half (a nine-minute piece titled “Lament”) places this tendency under experiment. Electronic signals are stifled into silence and then let forth in strange pops and wiry bursts, writhing over eachother like tendrils, leaping into spasms of electro-shock. This is sound in a state of primal panic. It announces its survivalist reflexes in whines and whimpers of electricity, engaging in the robotic equivalent of an animal gasping in the absence of oxygen. Whether or not the sounds accord or harmonise isn’t even close to being a priority. It’s much more important that Bouchons d’Oreilles continues to exist.