Oiseaux-Tempête’s Ütopiya? was easily one of my records of 2015. So I was pretty intrigued to get hold of this. You never know quite what you’ll get with this kind of bits-and-bobs compilation, but this exceeds expectations. It opens with Eclipse & Sirocco, a number based around Christine Ott’s ondes-martenot work which starts of as ethereal as you’d expect from that but which slowly builds an ominous pulsing and ends up quite as dramatic. Not as dramatic as most of the record, which is typically heart-on-its-sleeve stuff, guitar led but drenched in effects and analogue synths, plus Gareth Davis’s familiar bass clarinet on the last couple of tracks. Other highlights for me include The Strangest Creature On Earth, in which G W Sok (who memorably provided the Nazim Hikmet readings on the last album) delivers a killer spoken-word political rant — I won’t attempt to gloss it, go check it out, but it’s a masterpiece of quiet sorrow and restrained anger — and Black As Midnight On A Moonless Night, a big swaggering bluesy number with some excellent work on the whammy bar, which could easily soundtrack the entrance of the baddie in a cheesy thriller, on which (whisper it!) I think ol’ Frédéric D Oberland might actually be having fun. All in all… okay, this record isn’t quite as good as Ütopiya?, but it’s almost as good, which makes it very good indeed.
I bought this from Boomkat. They call it Indie / Alternative.