I love it when an impulse music buy just ticks all the boxes, including a whole load of boxes that you didn’t realise you had, let me re-introduce Pacific 231 Micromega, from all the way back in 2013. An ambient impulse buy after reading a review on A Closer Listen I bought this direct from Silent Media Projects and have enjoyed it ever since. Boxes ticked?
- Limited to 500 copies
- Artist named after a 1949 Jean Mitry film about trains**
- Gorgeous black and white splatter vinyl
- A wafer USB card which includes a 35 surround sound video of the LP
- Two lengthy tracks featuring glorious washes of ambient noise
- Lovely solid gatefold sleeve, incorporating a cool cutout bit that the USB sits in
A little more garish nudity and it could have been made solely for me. In fact Micromega was the inaugural winner of the 1537 Ray Manzarek memorial award for ‘the best-looking and put-together LP bought in 2013′. What more could a poor boy want and/or need?
Pacific 231 is Pierre Jolivet, a French music maker and producer, resident in Ireland and, according to one blog I read, ‘working on his PhD in Brainwave and Sensorial Perception Reception through sound, colour and space: Integrating Multi-sensory Output into performance’. What is it about musicians working in the ambient sphere?! Why do they all have to Toop out to such an extent?! Just once in my life I would like to read a biography of an ambient dude/dudette which basically read along the lines,
Dominic/Dominique from Flux Off & Die likes to spend his/her evenings watching drag racing, eating hotdogs and getting into chain fights with members of rival biker gangs
Still, we are in the realms of the cerebral here and let us be^ very clear about this, Pacific 231 Micromega is a very good ambient record indeed.
The first side of the LP, a track called ‘Koppa’ flies us off into similar territory to my beloved Orb, albeit without the crazed dialogue. The music, on both sides, is formed I believe from guitar loops that are slowed down to a glacial pace and (brace yourselves!) ‘deinstrumented’^*. ‘Koppa’ does what every good ambient piece should do, it engulfs you with a world of its’ own creation.
Second side ‘Sampi’ is a lot less restful. I don’t mind a bit of brooding ambient, bordering on disturbing at times and this is that. At times the darker passages remind me of the whole creature-lurking-in-the-marshes vibe of Brian Eno’s Ambient 4: On Land, which is praise indeed as far as I am concerned.
Now the wonderfully clever wafer USB thang is rather excellent, the footage enclosed is of various close-ups of a guitar, blended with all manner of lights and shapes – your classic psychedelic light show basically. I love the physical build of it, the ‘wafer’ is satisfyingly thick and it feels very robust; even to these big clumsy hands.
Overall Micromega is a thoughtful, cleverly put together piece, beautifully realized by the artist and Silent Media Projects. I feel very sophisticated owning this LP.
PS: here’s the train film, everyone likes steam trains:
PPS: Yes! I’ve done it! A third Let It Be title pun in three posts and a big ‘Yowza!’ to HMO for donating the title to me. It was just a bit more possible than Bruce’s Let It Beet (I’ll save that for when I review the Go-Go’s) and without dashing to the ELP shop I didn’t have any suitable salad based LPs I could use Lettuce Be for. This joke has now been officially retired.
*run by the very friendly and pleasant Ben Link Collins. Buy it here.
**as well as the accompanying orchestral piece by Arthur Honegger.
^see what I did there? I am THE man.
^*I read the word on the back of the LP, I think it means to ‘warp a sound so thoroughly that you cannot tell what its’ origin was’. It’s a new one on me. I’m going to try to drop it into a conversation at work this week: ‘You fuck with me, motherfucker and I will totally fucking deinstrument you – capiche?’, for example.