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Visage Pâle - Holistic Love

  by Adrian P

published: 11 / 3 / 2019

Visage Pâle - Holistic Love
Label: Castles in Space
Format: 10"


Biggleswade’s Castles In Space label opens up another promising year with this debut mini-album from Lausanne-based synth-pop-noire outfit Visage Pâle.

Through a strong run of esoteric releases in 2018, Castles In Space has belatedly became one of several ‘go-to’ labels (see also Polytechnic Youth and Ghost Box) for distinctive analogue electronic flavours and utopian/dystopian conceptualism. This debut mini-album from the Lausanne-based Visage Pâle puts the label on an even stronger and more idiosyncratic footing to start 2019. The alias of dual Swiss/Swedish citizen Lars-Martin Isler, the eight gathered tracks of this exquisitely-packaged 10” collection capture a promising dark star in the making. Possessing a deeper emotional heft than some of his older labelmates, this is predominantly a songwriter’s showcase rather just a synth explorer’s one. Singing in both French and English for extra élan, Isler’s mournful fragile tones re-imagine a less self-assured but more genuine François (of And The Atlas Mountains), with his evocative sonic cues taken from a subtly absorbed array of primarily but not entirely electronic influences. Hence, proceedings shift over a lot of cross-continental musical terrain with an airy weightlessness. The entrée of ‘Empire’ opens things strikingly as it burbles along beautifully like a lost low-key French-vocal outtake from a late-‘70s Kraftwerk LP. Thereafter, Isler casts his net wide but without getting tangled at sea. Thus, ‘Ether’ and ‘Matières Premières’ pulse and twinkle in amniotic somnambulant ambience; ‘Open Source’ cascades as a chirruping ISAN-imbued affair; the tremendous title-track imagines a funereal early-Piano Magic prowler; ‘Little Valentine’ lurks in a dank almost primordial Bad Seeds corner; the rippling piano-led instrumental ‘Waves’ evokes haunted-chateau atmospherics; and the closing ‘I Live The Night’ buzzes and shimmers to resemble one of Nils Frahm’s lateral technoscape detours. Whilst this inaugural Visage Pâle statement is remarkably assured, it partly feels like a work-in-progress proposition, which is actually no bad thing. It suggests that there are plenty of interesting places Lars-Martin Isler could still take us in future. One to keep watching in short.

Track Listing:-
1 Empire
2 Ether
3 Holistic Love
4 Matières Premières
5 Open Source
6 Little Valentine
7 Waves
8 I Leave The Night

Label Links:-

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