(New Album Review) Frédéric D. Oberland- Peregrinus Ubique

Frédéric D. Oberland is a multi-instrumentalist and visual artist based out of Paris, France who has been maintaining a staggering output since his first guest contributions and compilation appearances around 2007. He’s been a major international presence in post-rock and ambient music since, favoring resonant dark ambience and blistering noise over the usual middle-of-the-road stuff. He’s helmed too many bands to reel off, collaborated with Charlemagne Palestine and Lee Ranaldo, and continues to put out experimental, consummately-assembled, textural stuff year after year. 2015 saw him a busy guy, bringing droney, primitivist psychedelic soundscapes reminiscent of Cul de Sac to life in FOUDRE! and Les Reveils des Tropiques as well as guiding oceanic post-rock into the unknown in Oiseaux-Tempête’s highly anticipated Ütopiya? and now his debut full-length solo effort, Peregrinus Ubique, for VoxxoV.

Six scenes, six spaces for dreaming– Peregrinus Ubique is cinematic minimalist music that resists being described in terms of one uniting style. Desolate drones seep into the chilly recesses of Oberland’s field recordings of environments both derelict and public, from which insistent krautrock rhythms gradually emerge, seemingly keeping time with the flight of a haunted outsider. The swift emotional transitions of the work unfold like the soundtrack to a series of clashing episodes in a fractured narrative. And for further abstracted-suggestion, the physical release comes with a book of photos also by Oberland– but whatever narrative you end up inventing for this dream, you no doubt see that it flows from one space to the next with a sense of precise construction that nevertheless does not forget to leave room for sonic exploration. The pieces are deliciously layered with tactile details from pantophone, signal generator, and a whole array of esoteric acoustic instruments, though Oberland’s jagged, emotive electric guitar tone is usually the anchor. Oberland finds equal inspiration from psychedelic rock, electro-acoustic experimentation, neoclassical, and even folk, using a bouzuki on the plaintive “Scene IV” to evoke the sense of a doubting pause in the chase just before night falls, and with it the windswept despair of the buried synth and guitar on “Scene V”. A really well-constructed and eclectic collection– a vision that was a long time coming and certainly demands your attention.

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