Thursday, May 23, 2013

Bruno Fleutelot - Ozo Viv [Eglantine Records]

We see reissues occur regularly in all styles of music and often, already widely known records are re-packaged, re-branded and re-contextualised to drive further sales.
However, the limited nature of low-run CD and vinyl pressings coming out of small labels means that very few people on this planet will be likely to hear the recordings. Sometimes, old releases can drop off the radar as labels close down or move forward and there can be little trace of them ever having existed.
Fortunately in the case of Bruno Fleutelot's 'Ozo Viv' originally released on Im Lauf Der Zeit in 2005, Eglantine Records have decided to re-issue the album - giving it another chance to have its say, with a new audience.
Fleutelot's discography spans back to 1998 with 'Private' and his work as a musician even longer. Bruno is a man of multiple projects whether it be flying solo or as part of duos and bands. For the last ten years, he has plied his trade in producing soundtracks for short films and documentaries as several live performances.

The atmospherics in Ozo Viv's opening track Mare Moscoviense would imply a heavy listen lies ahead. Do not be fooled from this first glimpse! What lies ahead is a magnificent set of recordings that come highly recommended. There is a wealth of texture and differing moods that will retain your interest if you allow yourself to listen in full. Such is the diversity of the palette, several other artists come to mind as I listen
After a briefly pensive moment that opens the record -littered with guitar effects - scrapes, screeches and sustained electric guitar texture, a clearer guitar sound is welcome in Mare Fecunditatis. The press releases cites Labradford as an reference and I certainly felt this here, and in other areas of the record. Palus Nebularum is no exception from this, returning with more of the atmospheric guitar effects, this time given warmth by deeper drones underpinned with a paralysing sense of melancholy. Once the subtle haunting female vocal comes in, I was reminded of Svarte Greiner's fabulous Knive album and from here, Ozo Viv truly has its grip on my ears.
Mare Marginis allows the guitar to return to focus - with Bruno's playing feeling a little sinister, especially with the electric guitar feedback creeping in and out. Onto track five and the monolithic Mare Smythii carefully adds a brooding presence to Ozo Viv. It is hard to believe it is just three minutes long - perhaps attributed to the slow guitar playing and the sheer level of attention to detail. Sinus Roris adds a darker tone to the album and here I was reminded a little of Johann Johannsson's Miners Hymns - with the feel of the distorted feedback and static.
The noise and power is turned down to allow some silence to creep in at times in Mare Humorum; a respite that does not detract to the prevailing effect of the record. In the second half of the track, a drum and louder guitar sound kick in suddenly, adding a well-timed, well-executed twist to breathe life back into the steadily decaying ship that we had been sailing. It doesn't last long and the closing moments end quietly to carefully introduce the beauty of Oceanus Procellarum, the album's shortest piece.
Enter Mare Australe, a piece which opens out with flickering vintage ambient synths before taking you on a  journey mapping the sounds of a decaying piano. Here, Sylvain Chauveau came to mind for a moment before I stopped trying to compare this fabulous record to that of others. The power and effect of this album strikes me hard here - it is made all the more powerful by listening to the full spectrum of sounds preceding and it feels like an epiphany. Mare Tranquillitatis opens with sounds of crashing waves and the lightest moments of guitar on the album. This is very well placed indeed following the heights of the previous track. French spoken whispers pan in either ear as it lushly plays through. In Marc (Pt 1, 2 & 3), this record must end. This piece is included as a bonus track not on the original record and since listening to Ozo Viv for the first time is in this configuration, it does not feel like a bookend at all. I remember Aidan Baker's For The Sea And Shore as I listen to these closing moments and glance back at the titles of the tracks that make up Ozo Viv.
I notice a prevailing link to the ocean, assuming my dormant mind informs me correctly that 'Mare' is sea in Latin. There is no reference to a theme or concept in the press release and I am too lazy to take a crash course in Latin for me to work out the track titles. Here lies a true sign of a powerful, well produced album - it has an ability to translate the artist's ideas and concepts through the compositions. Without the faintest knowledge of what Ozo Viv is about, I am able to understand fully and connect with it.

Bruno Fleutelot's Ozo Viv comes with my highest recommendation. There is so much to it, that I could write for hours about it. Already, I feel I have missed some key points - not least the stunning artwork and packaging that Eglantine have put together in collaboration with AurĂ©lie Brouet.
As I touch upon the physical aspects of the record for a moment, I return to where I began this is available in another limited run of just 300 copies! {BUY / LISTEN}

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