Neon - Au Theatre Des Sons Imaginaires
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Au Theatre Des Sons Imaginaires

Au Theatre Des Sons Imaginaires is the debut album from the ambient duo of Neon. Their music is a sparse and fragile blend of real instrumentation (mainly guitars) and filtered electronics mixed with occasional spoken samples. The combined effect is dreamlike, as if you're trying to recall a film you've seen but can't quite remember the dialogue or music that went along with it.

From a musical standpoint, the closest reference points to the groups sound are artists like Fennesz, or the earlier work of Tim Hecker. In some of their more guitar-based moments the group sounds like a shoegazer band sapped of all rhythm, and throughout its running length Au Theatre Des Sons Imaginaires is content to drift in such a fog. There's not a single track on the twelve track, forty-five minute release that has either potent bass or percussion, and so the group drifts and drifts and drifts, with only a few very subtle, shorter moments that actually bring things down to earth.

Despite a rather narrow scope, the release is nicely done. "Il Se Faufila Entre Les Arbres" mixes super sparse notes of reverbed guitar with creaky filtered electronics and plenty of ambience while "Fantomas" pushes into slightly more tense space with ever-increasing waves of filtered electronics, quiet chimes and guitars and some background dialogue that sounds like an argument. In other places, they push the noise boundary further, blowing out tracks like "Mes Vices" into hazy waves of disembodied My Bloody Valentine-esque guitars and digital artifacting. The group is at their best when they mix some actual guitar or other instrumentation into the track after track of blurred tones, and the eleven-minute album-titled closer seems to find just the right blend of each without feeling like its running out of ideas. Considering everything that's come before it, it certainly doesn't stand out as groundbreaking, but at the same time it's a nice little debut release that does some things quite well.

rating: 6.510
Aaron Coleman 2007-07-26 19:36:17