Rarely has a wild audio ride been so full of twists and turns as the one we undertake with the latest music by Femminielli. Shanghai, C’est Beau is a beautiful, spooky, and lysergic trip of a record. Evoking Serge Gainsbourg with his French-Canadian whisper vocal style, while putting that influence through instrumental passages of noir-disco and new age synth tone colors, Femminielli’s created a work of real depth and something that can be listened to on repeat for hours. Throughout the experience of time spent deciphering his compositions, we were never clear if the darkness inside the music is meant to terrify because it is almost as equally gorgeous. When beats do pop out of the haze they don’t invite us to dance so much as to sit upright, look straight ahead, and pay close attention. One of the better releases thus far this year.
Shanghai, C’est Beau is now available from Clan Destine Records
Written by Jeff Daily
Montreal’s Bernardino Femminielli is back, and this time he’s got his white suit on, so you know he means business. “Atlantida” and it’s accompanying video by Sabrina Ratté guide you through liquid drone and disco that seems imported directly from a day-glo corner of the cyberspace grid that’s probably right down the block from the car lot Max Headroom opened when he retired from public life. All cultural allusions aside, this is a beautiful alignment of digital visual and musical synthesis. Whispered crooning gives the collage of synth, bass, and shredding guitar a human feel as we realize that 10 plus minutes have melted into the past. And yes, you can definitely dance to it.
Watch for Femminielli’s Sprezzatura on cassette this November from Robert and Leopold
By Luke Carrell
Femminielli is the ace solo synthesizer work of the Montreal-based musician Bernardino Femminielli. While the ominous chords, geometric leads, and forlorn march of the “Chauffeur’s” beat will be instantly familiar to any fan of the cold/minimal/new/dark/what have you wave(s), the charismatic web spun by the crooner-esque vocals and the overall precise but organic execution of this highly textural, affective piece distinguish it from the efforts of many other musicians who have ventured to or are currently exploring similarly bleak terrains. That’s not to imply that the music is in any way ubiquitous, rather that this particular stuff is going on the shelf beside some of our other favorites (see links above). The song manages a precise balance between intrigue and despair, making it the ideal soundtrack for that reckless high-speed drive along a coastal cliff road that you’ve been planning. Drive safely, be sure to watch for cyclists, and listen on repeat.
Femminielli’s split 7-inch with Araignée, a snappy pop collaboration between Dominic Vanchesteing and Bernardino Femminielli, is now available from Fixture Records
Written by Luke Carrell