[Fragments Of A New Past sleeve]"Fragments Of A New Past" (Album, 2023)

Ombrelle Concrète

Fragments Of A New Past by Anne-Laure Mathieu aka Anlor is a fusion of old compositions unearthed with new compositional elements that forges a distinctive synthesis of classical inspired instruments with ambient textures and new electronic sounds.

Piano melodies pierce through shrouds of spectral chords while the warm pulses of bass tones melt shards of string tones. The tracks work together as a journey through a sonic tundra and are best listened to as a complete piece of work.

Fragments Of A New Past opens with July Eye with an insistent Steve Reich marimba and piano figure introducing an intermittent pulsing bass. Snow Island recalls Brian Eno's first forays into ambient music. Slowing the tempo with sedate ambient melodies whose Euclidean fusion create a delicate sonic lattice. The spare arrangement compels the listener to focus on the individual instruments, making for a truly immersive experience.

Automatic Project follows with a heartbeat bass establishing the piece before gently building layers of sparkling, legato chords overwhelm and recede. Texture One Ad Libitum continues the musical theme of Automatic Project but with disorienting reverse reverb. Return 21 begins with a pacific percussive chrome figure. A silken motif glides beneath before the introduction of a muted kick and piano which guide the piece to its gentle crescendo.

This is a beautifully crafted album of gentle ambience. But still, the standout track for me is Heaven Eleven. Soft, pure, delicate, and serene. This is a wonderful composition with a lightness that runs up my veins and fills my head with tranquillity with every listen. I do not see myself ever tiring of listening to this track. Closing my eyes, I can picture myself as the only observer at an arctic sunrise. My only criticism is it is too short.

This Is Not A Sad Song is both contemplative and melancholic. From its glacial beginnings whose slow arpeggios drip like water from a stalactite, a portentous piano motif emerges until understated percussive strikes propel the piece to resolution.

As Missing Face begins, piano lines interweave with the plangent undulation of strings evoking the likes of Max Richter. The closing Architecture In Church concludes the album with serene, deliberate piano lines drawing evolving strings towards its conclusion. The overall feel of the album is not dissimilar to the eponymous Cluster and Eno collaboration. The pieces work together as a journey through a sonic tundra. Piano melodies pierce through shrouds of spectral chords while the warm pulses of bass tones melt shards of string tones.

A collection of music to be listened to as a complete work lying beneath a winter's sky. Anne-Laure studied at the prestigious Lyon Conservatory of Music. Her first performances were mostly of baroque music in church ensembles before she succumbed to the allure of joining post punk and shoegaze bands. From there, she began sonic experiments combining software and hardware that saw the beginnings of Anlor.

The album Fragments Of A New Past sees the welcome return of Anlor's solo work after a ten-year career hiatus. 8/10

Edwin Huxley (May 2023)

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