Aelab – Riding (Dragon’s Eye Recordings)


Aelab is the collaboration between artists Giséle Trudel and Stéphane Claude, their work is usually either installation or recording based. The sounds on the artists’ latest disc, Riding, were collected and developed on a residency the duo undertook in New Zealand. The resultant compositions utilise field recordings, manipulated electronic sound and sparse synthesizer sequences.

The field recordings presented on three of the pieces within Riding are subtle and captivating conjuring imagery of both real and imagined landscapes. Though, on pieces “Riding’ and “Whale Tail’ this is compromised through the use of repeated chorus-laden synth lines that float unflatteringly on top of the field recordings. In saying this, the remaining tracks work quite well, the treatment is unobtrusive and allows for the listener to become engrossed in the soundworlds presented. “Force Tranquilis’ relies solely on subtly manipulated field recordings to create a desolate low humming soundscape, whilst “Steel Spaces’ employs sculpted bass frequencies and bell like high-pitched tones.

Overlaying instrumental sequences on field recordings always presents the risk of falling into new age/spa music territory. This, unfortunately, is the case with parts of Riding, though it may not be a problem for some. I find the release is strongest when the artists’ restrain from imposing an overt mood or colour to the field recording and let the sounds and environments speak for themselves.

Luke Bozzetto


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