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Nicolas Godin - Contrepoint

  by Adrian Janes

published: 8 / 10 / 2015

Nicolas Godin - Contrepoint
Label: Because Music
Format: CD


First solo album from Nicolas Godin from AIR which fails to take the breath away

The debut album from one half of AIR is said to take compositional inspiration from the music of Bach. Since this writer is rather more familiar with the oeuvre of Bow Wow Wow, it’s a claim that must be taken on trust. But it is still possible to say what emotional effect the music produces. ‘Orca’, with its mélange of organ spliced with power chords, timpani and strings, at first comes over like Young Gods guesting with the London Symphony Orchestra. Abruptly, it shifts into a bout of feverish dexterity on a harpsichord-toned synth, that somehow irresistibly conjures up visions of Rick Wakeman in full wizard regalia.‘Bach Off’, the album’s longest track, is a similarly confused mix of styles and instruments, the sometimes intriguing parts (especially some very fluent sax) not really adding up to a sum. By the end, the listener is only too happy to agree with the title. ‘Widerstehe doch der Sünde’, based on a Bach cantata, is somewhat more successful, its drifting mood enhanced by cool vibraphone notes and strings, Godin’s Beatlesque piano and yearning German singers, all set against brief bursts of timpani. But after this, despite the range of styles explored (the ‘Take Five’ jazz feel to ‘Club Nine’, the Brazilian balladry of ‘Clara’, the ambient Italian of ‘Quei Due’),the majority of the tracks share a general blandness that is simply not very interesting or moving. Even ‘Glenn’, a tribute to the album’s other guiding light, Glenn Gould (a notably eccentric character in his time), despite some waspish synth touches, does not rise far above the level of MOR. ‘Contrepoint’, despite the interesting idea of counterposing styles and instruments not commonly associated together, ultimately has the air of those somewhat grandiose works with which musicians like Wakeman and Deep Purple’s Jon Lord once favoured the world. Yet often these tracks seem modest rather than pretentious. There may be plenty of Bach, but there is little bite.

Track Listing:-
1 Orca
2 Widerstehe doch der Sünde
3 Club Nine
4 Clara
5 Glenn
6 Quei due
7 Bach off
8 Elfe Man

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