“Le Fumeur De Ciel” by Julien Neto
Foggy Parisian cinematic bliss.
Parisian Julien Neto has been an active member of the music scene for some time with releases on various labels under various monikers, so it comes as a surprise then that this is his debut album. However, Neto has taken his time in producing this record, and it shows very clearly that this is not merely a random collection of tracks but a fully realized work. Like a poem, each track is a verse, and part of a much larger piece. The literary connection does not stop here, Neto based part of the record on the poems of Keats finding a kindred spirit in his deep and moving romanticism. This effortless gravitas is explored cautiously on ‘IV’, where sweeping strings and distant piano form the basis of an epic and moving track.
The title of the record is somewhat fitting as the album is enswathed by curls of cinematic smoke. Think Twin Peaks as blue light illuminates the dry ice around Julee Cruise on centre stage, or the thick French cigarette smoke drifting from Rachel’s mouth in Blade Runner and you’re close. Yet what makes ‘Le Fumeur De Ciel’ so beautifully inviting is its delicate naivety. There is something of timeless theatrics about the record, hazy childhood memories of half-sinister puppetry and enjoyably menacing shadows.
Propelled by a tireless Gallic melancholy, this is a work which confronts tragic loss with an unflinching honesty. Each track is underpinned by deep memories and dried tears. ‘Sketch’ takes Neto’s signature flute sound and adds sweeping strings and a lightly plucked harp that trips over the already heart wrenching melodies. The atmospheres which Neto carves are the most striking aspect of his music. With samples, rough tape edits and disintegrated synthesized sounds he can manipulate imaginary worlds. This is when we have to go back to Keats, and in the same way that a poem looks to the reader’s imagination to complete the experience, so Neto does the same.
Fans of Colleen, Susumu Yokota, Sylvain Chaveau and Max Richter are sure to find solace in these peaceful and measured electro acoustic compositions.