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vendredi, décembre 03, 2004

absolutely great review from cracked

“Hello Spiral” defies all kind of denomination. It is, as they say, here, there and everywhere. Finally a pop record, a record of electronic music, an experiment and a statement all rolled into one, with some edges showing off more visibly at some times, while others stay afloat in the distance at all times. Eclecticism as a trade and “joy to the world” as a motto.
Olivier Lamm is truly a composer more than most of his contemporaries. Or he is a sponge sucking in impressions from all over the place and then reflecting them like a magic mirror, producing irrevocably translucent and magnifying moments. Or maybe Olivier Lamm is nothing but the strange fellow you might meet in a pub somewhere and spend some hours talking about records, books and movies, without ever getting to know anything about each other but the likes and dislikes you share about music. Well, O.Lamm has one on you then: he is making that music.

Endlessly the Uzumaki draws attention into its vortex, sucking in without ever giving forth and transforming everything within its reach beyond repair. There is a reason the spiral has always been the number one symbol for hypnotists and evil magicians perusing their powers for darksided ends. From the Twilight Zone to the tv-quizsow, the spiral also always stood for fortuitousness and progress, with a hint of paranormal phenomenons and explanations from beyond our realm. To encompass the spiral, to welcome its swirling embrace, is to give away freely and without second thoughts everything everyone else would deem important or meaningful. Remember the end of “The Black Hole”, when the big space ship finally plunges into the utter symbol of nihilism? Well, it spiralled around its own angle, didn’t it? Actually, it had to, because even though no one really knows what a black hole looks like and if it does move (and if so, in what direction), to symbolize the complete end, the meaninglessness of life and existence and to eradicate every thought for hope in its most final destination, it just had to be a spiral. Therefore I say, that “Hello Spiral” is a very daring title for a record.
Then again, Active Suspension is a very daring record label. Just take a look at the rule-bending bricolage of songs that they released on Hypo’s “Random Veneziano” (who, by the way, also plays a bitpart on here..). “Hello Spiral” is also definitely more than just one record. Rather, it is a impersonification and concentration of various records. How could one person have done all this, but wait – there are more questions to ask before we get there. There is pop-songs, there is ambient noise, there is electronic wizardry, there is weird and quirky shit, there is a lot of stuff thrown all together and swirled like a bouillabaisse, there is even a choir of people singing together harmonically over harsh electronic wall of noise of humming bass, whooshing high pitched glitches and distortion. A joyful praise sung in almost choral style, that somehow doesn’t makes me regret it is Christmas time again. The influences come from here and there – rarely ever does an artist make up a list of influential products himselfand in even rarer circumstances are the hints so widespread. From “Screamadelica” to “Highway 61 Revisited”, from Converge to Ground Zero,and also writers like Thomas Pynchon or Davd Foster Wallace. You could spend the time listening to “Hello Spiral” jotting down the connotations you can here, but why exhaust yourself, if it has already been done.

Olivier Lamm is French, that might explain his sensibility towards beautiful melodies and the ability to bury them beneath heaps of electronic noise and some trumpets on top. And it explains why he gets drunk on Stella Artois (though it definitely doesn’t explain why he takes his teddy bear drinking with him – to watch over him so he gets home well?) His history is
long and winding, and it shares points with many French projects, bands and artists – some of which have a bitpart on here – from My Jazzy Child over David Balula to Hypo again. And it is this history, a path filled with free-form experimentation (free-form as in free to think in any form) that gives him the guts to pull of stunts, others wouldn’t dare to write down as
a plan even. Like the noises of someone munching an apple (I only guess it is an apple), or toy pipes whistling a military tune, or voices singing a children’s canon, or a bassy electric drone developing into a spiritfully and joyous song, or a track splashing out of the water like someone who cracks through the surface of a pool gasping for air after having taken a
long dive.

Summing up, the best thing about this unidentifiable record with the eclectic collection of songs and tracks is its fun. The fun it spreads and the fun it obviously received in the making.

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