Les Fragments de la nuit – Musique des Crepuscule – 4.5/5
I welcome you to the final section on my brief stint, flirting with ambient music. This French band, whose name means “The Fragments of the Night” in English, play a heavily dark and gothic brand of ambient music. Evil yet delicate – it wouldn’t feel at all out of place as the soundtrack for a film noir, or for a phantom of the opera type theatrical production. For those less familiar, the best I can do to describe their sound is imagine Nightwish, if they dropped the vocals, and recruited the violinist from Apocalyptica and the Keyboard player from Old Mans Child in order to create a soundtrack for a particularly evil and tragic film.
It has long been my opinion that the violin is an incredibly underrated instrument, unparalleled at creating an atmosphere. Here I am proven right, with tracks such as “Assault” and “Devenons Demain” making heavy use of the violin to create a sense of tension and despair, laden with emotion and a suicidal gothic tone. The keyboards work tremendously at adding to this, especially in “Entre Ciel et Fer,” adding another layer to all the work present, and creating a thicker atmosphere. And as we progress further through the album, we land on “La Chambres des Fees,” whose gratuitous use of choral notes (there are no lyrics, using the voice as another instrument) on their own provide an eerie sound, and is once again revisited with “La Chateau Enchante,” this time working with the keyboard and violin to create a sound so spine-chilling, it feels like the perfect accompaniment to a horror film.
This is not an album to bring you out of depression. The thick atmosphere of evil, and the tension created, is so powerful, so carefully constructed and so easily overwhelming that its not recommended that you listen to it for extended periods, even though it has an incredible replay value. Despite its simplicity, each track yields a different pace, a slightly different brand on the atmospheric evil they so successfully create, that it can endlessly hold your attention. But at no point does it feel like it demands it - the music can easily flow over you as you do other things, providing a tremendous sense of atmosphere whilst you work.
I couldn’t honestly see myself enjoying an ambient album as much I have this one. It has performed beyond any expectations.
Highlights: Assault, Solarisation, La Chateau Enchante
By T. Bawden