After getting tied up with soundtrack work alongside his music partner Tom Hodge and other collaborators, Franz Kirmann describes himself as having had writers’ block, unsure which direction to go in for his solo works. He broke out of his computer- and soundbank-centric funk by buying himself a modular system, the Make Noise Shared System, and training himself on it whilst experimenting. Madrapour is the result, but rather than sounding like a man experimenting with new instruments, it comes across as confident and assured.
It’s an eleven-pack of gentle instrumental electronica with soft rhythms and a fairly cinematic vision. Acoustic-sounding percussion elements generally keep a steady sense of time, while melodic pads and drones gently roll and fall above. Tenser pulses and grumbles in tracks like “A Vision” contrast with lighter and more laidback tracks like the playful counter-rhythms of “Angled”, or the soft ambient “Battersea” (reminiscent of some of The Orb’s more recent minimal Kompakt offerings, not least because of the Battersea connection). “Rave Ikon”, whilst misleadingly titled, is a strong example of the glitchier elements at play, while “Mysted” is a more lackadaisical bit of melodic meandering.
Highlights include the nicely unfolding and oddly signatured “Salem”, which at different times sounds vaguely trip-hoppy but then strongly Tangerine Dream-esque. “Slow Snow” has gentle shades of synthwave about it. The sporadic and emotive plucked sounds in “Distant” are engagingly expressive.
Coming across as a soundtrack to a non-existent experimental film, this is an interesting series of cinematic soundscaping and noodling that isn’t imbued with a strong sense of direction, yet is pleasantly consistent. Brooding electronica for the win.