Ben Shemi – Desiderata: Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space

The third solo album in three years for the guitarist and singer of Montreal quartet Sons. Infused with forced introspection and the epistemic fears of recent years, this is a journey the author dreams of, punctuated by a string quartet.

© Joseph Yarmusch

If he doesn’t do this in every title, the author seems to have already seen the parts that might play Molinari String Quartet who accompanies him. Which definitely came in handy when going to the studio. The sound object is therefore necessarily strange, as sonically the exact opposite of what one would expect from such an association.

Because that’s what the listener immediately retains when doing a solo exercise Shemi Reveals its most electronic side. The whole atmosphere of the disc evokes an electronica album… but not really entirely electronic. Yet it provides a large part in the general environment of hacks, tests, such disks. To be honest, after several listens I realized that yes, indeed, some of the sounds are not samples or expected loops. And for his third album in three years, the writer-composer envisions a kind of completely electronic opera around the idea of ​​departure, of a man’s unspecified destination. Not necessarily a viable excuse for an electro record. Yes we are a little lost. I believe that is the intended goal.

Inspired, the press release tells us Solaris, (For the youngest kind of film grandfather Interstellar), this OMNI (unknown musical object) is a clear reference to genre films of the second half of the 20th century. Shemi Recently his album atmosphere was specified for the magazine Le Devoir au Canada: “” Our hero leaves Earth in his ship and goes as far as he can into space and deep into the interior, until it is completely dark, where he finds himself. It’s somewhat the same story as in 2001. A space odyssey, an encounter with oneself. It’s not an action story, it’s just a journey. »

Indeed, the pieces sometimes hum as if they’ve picked up the amp’s condenser in the studio… or they’re playfully confusing, like when they go looking for recordings of old answering machines mixed with singers’ voices, unrelated to direct space travel (it’ll be pretty obvious ). Some tracks feel like impressionistic collages or classical pieces built on synths and elaborated in crescendos, while others evoke the occasionally uncanny crumpling of melancholic trip hop. mass attack or cold Since the mid-90s. All to lie to me, when in its most erased moments we want to follow their hammerend producing of DJ Chaya… but is carried by a string quartet…

An entire album carried by a single theme, rock or electro opera, is a headache during musical snacking. Shemi However, radiophonics do not lend themselves to single or simple techniques. only There is a mirror A little more standard headline immediacy.

The album is a trip to an uneasy balance between what we expect and what confuses us, what pleases us and what repels us: sometimes working with harmony or arrangement, sometimes a shock of different materials like an avant-garde sound collage. It’s really similar except for the method and the sound of the album, it’s a Bambi Galaxy of Florent Marchet I thought about what most heard across. with for the market The unity of the song’s themes (the logbook in French of a generation of ship commanders) is something I’m not even sure I can find Shemi.

I came out of the album a little lost, and I think I can say that there are many of us in Benzene who really don’t know whether we have a winning or suspenseful ending. So if I recognize desired Crafted very cleverly, yet recorded in a few close live sessions in the studio GYBE! If I could find several reasons to explain why it’s not really unpleasant to listen to, because there’s always something that catches its ear… to be perfectly frank, I desired A bedside album that stays with me for a long time? Probably not. And that’s what saddens me the most for a record that digs into words to tell me about a trip.

To discover and scrutinize an album, of course, is to be frustrated by sound and style.

Dennis Varlos

Ben Shemi- The decidator
Label: Joyful Noise Recordings
Published on July 15, 2022

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