L Pierre’s second album is a soothing epic of electro sounds, which despite being fully instrumental manages to be evocative, emotional and sensual in a way that even the best lyrics can’t. While some of it might remind of Royksopp, Lemon Jelly or the first few tracks in Mylo’s ‘Destroy Rock n Roll’ at half speed, this music is ultimately different and beautiful; and relaxing in a way unlike anything that’s come out for a while.
But you may not like that – if melodic quietude is not what you are after, look elsewhere now.
The first album from L Pierre, aka Aidan Moffat, one half of Scottish sulk specialists Arab Strap, was named Hypnogogia and it represented a condensation of 5 years’ worth of sounds produced during dull studio moments and odd experiments with sonic distortion and kafuffle. ‘Touchpool’ is a completely different affair, and God am I glad it is. The album opens with ‘Crush’, featuring a sample from what sounds like that depressing bit in a film before the end – and pay attention to this, because it’s a trick that L Pierre repeats throughout. Using a familiar sounding sample, maybe one recognisable from popular film or music, he loops it over and over, adds percussion, keyboard and bass. This results in beautifully arranged pieces of composition. Another track that uses one sample, and then seamlessly repeats it, is ’Velbon’, a short but concise loop of Beethoven to some keyboard. And there is more like this, including the curiously titled ‘Rotspots From The Crap Map’ (don’t ask).
Another welcome difference in the second album is the addition of more musicians in a number of tracks, which makes the whole offering more coherent and less ad hoc. This is particularly noticeable when Dave MacGowand, from Arab Strap’s live outfit, performs along Aidan in ‘Jim Dodge Dines At The Penguin Café’, a sumptuously melodic canon for pedal steel to a subtle percussion backdrop – possibly the stand-out track. Similarly we hear Allan Wylie play trumpet on ‘Total Horizontal’, the closing tune and one that can easily help you reach another plain. All in all, ‘Touchpool’ is a true antidote to the usually raucous and noisy rock offerings you listen to every other day of the week.
While you could be excused from thinking that this album is just a new set of clothes for what is essentially the instrumental version of Arab Strap, the only similarity between them is their capacity to induce melancholy and introspection. And there is no need to justify that they want to provoke similar sentiments – after all, whether alone or with others, L Pierre has demonstrated with ‘Touchpool’ that musically he is very accomplished.
8Mario Pisani's Score