Fall Therapy is the musical alias of French electronic producer and multi-instrumentalist Eymeric Amselem, who’s previously released several remixes of other artists prior to the release of this debut album ‘You Look Different.’ In an interesting instance of cultural reflexivity, it was apparently listening to n5MD artists such as Ruxpin and Near The Parenthesis in the early 2010s that initially inspired Amselem, then a conservatory-trained violinist, to start working with synths and audio software.
The intricate post-IDM sound design and sweeping emotional landscapes that have consistently formed the bedrock of the signature n5MD sound are certainly firmly in evidence here, but in this case it’s the addition of more dancefloor-friendly rhythms and digitally processed acoustic instrumentation that really drive these eight tracks off into fresh new territory. Indeed, this is easily one of the most upbeat and extroverted releases I’ve heard in some time, with glittering synth arpeggios and vaguely proggy lead lines coexisting smoothly alongside tech-house kickdrums and garage-inflected breakbeats.
‘Taste Of Variance’ eases things in gently as rippling synth arrangements and flecks of delicate acoustic guitar wash against fluttering minimalist beats, but there’s an underlying urgency to the rhythms that adds an intriguingly busy undertone to the graceful violin arrangements that slowly unfurl in the background. By ‘Consistency’ though, the more streamlined dancefloor rhythms have assumed the foreground as moody orchestral tones slowly build against a throbbing backbone of tech-house kickdrums and rattling off-step percussion, the gleaming proggy house synth motifs calling to mind the early noughties likes of Hybrid and Way Out West, or perhaps even the more mainroom-centred side of John Hopkins.
In contrast, ‘Simple Things Fading Away’ places melodic acoustic guitar strokes at its centre in what’s easily this album’s most blues / folk-tinged offering, the treated textures being looped, reverbed and folded back on themselves until they gradually slow down to a woozy crawl, in what’s easily one of the most hypnotic and immersive moments here. Elsewhere, ‘Guilt’ ventures closer to Trentemoller’s moody and cinematic dance-pop as dark bass synths swell against crunching handclaps, swirls of violin and guitar, and Amselem’s own wavering doubled vocals. An impressive debut album from Fall Therapy that sees N5MD kicking the pace up a few notches.