"When Animals Attack" (Album, 2023)
Thierry Holweck, veteran of the French music scene, released his third album last month on Ombrelle Concrète. Thierry's recent solo works have seen him explore the possibilities of modular synthesis combining live, outdoor recordings with studio-based pieces; and this album may be his most accomplished. When Animals Attack opens with the title track with its simple sequenced melodies which warp and twist into a combination of glitches.
Antic is another sparse arrangement.
Woodblocks and plucked string tones combine with gentle
sonic crunches and sampled sounds which recall Peter
Gabriel's early experiments with the Fairlight CMI. Monkey
Tree begins with an emulation of a Himalayan singing
bowl before a bass with a 1970s analogue vibe contrasts.
The insistent pizzicato notes that begin Let
The Children Play give way to a gentle melancholy
flute like melody. Intermittent percussive abrasions
interrupt before insistent Morse code tones play out. Polar
Bear starts with a slow deliberate bassline as
analogue crackles alternate left and right. Disturbing
distant wails reminiscent of a 1950s sci-fi b-movie
soundtrack break the surface as double time arpeggios play
the track out.
Down By The River has a warm bass line
combined with the sound of a tongue drum. World music hints
of didgeridoo and pipes make this the most layered track on
the album. Slow oscillating saws start Fragments before
high pitch synth lines scurry past. Tension builds and
subsides into low frequency pulses .... then silence, then
the return of insistent sonic chase to the end.
At a time when most music is characterised by
densely layered arrangements, When Animals Attack
cuts a refreshing and distinct figure. Each track is spare
and deliberate. Space and sparseness lead the listener to
focus on individual tones and instruments.
Thierry takes the glitch era electronics of the
early 2000's and smooths them into a more melodic form
whilst retaining bite and attack at unexpected moments. The
crispness and precision of this album calls to mind the
sparser tracks on the debut of German Kosmische super group
Harmonia; and Thierry's upcoming live dates present an
irresistible opportunity to hear his music in a live
Alan Strode (June 2023)