Facing Reality by Cedric Elisabeth
Ambient producer takes leap into the depths of rhythm and doesn't sink
There's no pigeon-holing French musician Cedric Elisabeth as an Ambient aesthete. His previous work may have bathed and basked in a warming glow wrought from his own personal ambience, as he explored feelings and colours and other mindful things, but on fifth release Facing Reality he's evaded all prior categorisation by turning (rather successfully) to rhythm.
Peppered throughout the six tracks on this EP the marks of his core Ambient schooling remain evident, even when the staggered beats on opening statement (the profoundly titled) Exit seize attention. Apart from the underlying drones and ghostly synth-loops only the subtle bassline adds meat to an otherwise skeletal body, perhaps exposing Elisabeth's trepidation in tackling this new form of expression while remaining within touching proximity of his own form of familiar.
As the tracks seamlessly merge into one another, like a smooth DJ mix, we find ourselves swinging between heavy rhythm and heavy ambience. Elisabeth's personal Transmission prevailing loud-and-clear: he's not just an Ambient artist. Like Mogwai, balancing loud and quiet serves to heighten the contrast, in this case between artful, Ambient passages and (by any other name) club-ready tracks. For instance, the vibes from Chaotic sound semi-aggressive sandwiched between Orgue and Transmission, this central track plundering our safe space with confident kicks, immersed in spooky synths and rhythmic noises. The beat-less Orgue drifts in and glitches out, offering only a moment's respite, before the sudden 120 BPM pulse of Gate kicks in with muffled beats and a claustrophobic atmosphere. Half expecting a comedown, Elisabeth throws a final spanner with Accro, essentially a peak-time banger, both the best track here and hinting at what we might expect from EP #6.
- Rating: 7/10
- Listens: 9
- Highlight: Accro
- Label: Detroit Underground
- Release Date: 5th January 2020