Review: Quimper – Wake Up Gastone

coverHeadphones. Wake Up Gastone sounds like a record that was written and recorded while wearing headphones the whole time. Privately, in a locked room. Perhaps this lock was only released when the record was finished, incubated in a solitary space and pieced together under dim lighting, hidden from the unfathomable allergen that is the world outside. My inclination is to listen exclusively via headphones, and to fantasise about the possibility that Quimper’s music may never be dispersed across physical space. Instead, it’s funnelled directly from synths to computers to ears, snaking discreetly through the annuls of wires, audible only to those who come to consciously observe it: like a microbial ballet upon a microscope slide, with soft synthesisers squirming across eachother at the most delicate of harmonic angles, arriving at constructions that could be memorable enough to be termed “pop” were they not too delicate to survive introduction into the boisterous, irrepressibly noisy contaminant of mainstream society.

Two of the tracks feature the vocals of Jodie Lowther, whose hushed delivery stays true to Quimper’s desire for privacy. “Elephant” is absolutely gorgeous, the sung melody just barely protruding above a whisper, driven by a drum machine that clicks and shuffles like a contraption built from elastic bands and matchsticks. “Years Out” is ghoulish and candlelit, with Lowther trapped, whimpering for her freedom, in the torment of a two-chord refrain for piano and withered synthesiser strings. These two tracks are cradled by two instrumental pieces that slip past me so elegantly and translucently – electronics rendered in tiny pockets of gas or alien green glows, drum samples conveying all the impact of a light, barely perceptible rainfall. Wake Up Gastone is a beautiful 13 minutes, and only becomes more beautiful when one engages in a secretive, monogamous act of listening. It’s just me and Quimper. Nobody else needs to know.