FOUDRE! – Earth [OST] (Gizeh, 2017)


I am often sceptical of soundtracks as standalone media; much of the impact of a film is lost without its music accompaniment, but in many ways the music alone suffers more without its visual guidance. The course of the music feels inextricably linked to the motions and timings of the on-screen activity and, without it, can often feel a little lost. The same cannot be said of this record, however; Earth is a smooth ride that moves at its own pace, sliding from one painterly vista to the next like a museum on a conveyor.

“Still Life” opens in sweeping evocations, slow motion swatches of sound that brim with the audacity of each adventurous brush stroke. Electric currents skitter and burst through the drone overlays, tickling like synaptic patterns frozen, duplicated in the delicate intricacies of the brushwork; life’s energy restrained and translated in oils. These deconstructions continue in the energetic motions of “Flesh” as though we watch dancers entrechat across a stage, synth pulsations filled with a dynamism and fluidity contained only by sinew and muscle.

Admiration of life continues in flesh’s necessary downtime “Sleep”, the music collapsing in briefly ruminating and brooding passages swimming with illusory paths and electronic arcs. There’s an edginess here, almost an impatience, that keenly yearns for this ominously introspective period to be over so that time can move again. And like a great looming threat, the future hovers overhead in the reductive “Goliath”, its early sequences clearly preluding something brash as its idiosyncrasies gather. Crooning synths accumulate; woozy, throbbing basslines amass strength; its long slabs of sound grow to behemothic levels but never feel overwhelming. It is a distant force, one that eclipses the mind’s eye but never threatens to consume it.

Shattered remnants of thought drift by in the appropriately titled follower “Ruins/Medusa”, mournful bells tolling out of the eerie electronic gloom as the music attempts to reintegrate itself following its calamitous, paradigm-shifting overhaul. It’s a reawakening of sorts, a shuffling of ideas and thoughts all coagulating and slotting into place with increasing urgency as the synths accelerate wildly back into place.

We’re left only with “Mirror”, the enigmatic closer that croons with melancholy in its guitar pickings and haunting flutes. Art imitates life with shocking accuracy and sometimes, as we are treated to here, with eye-opening effects. Realisation dawns, sonder snaps into place and an appreciation for all the other ticking brains and actual lives around us is briefly experienced in the fading light of its conclusion.