Galerie Stratique

Faux World

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Number three for Galerie Stratique is both a surprise and a keeper. Faux World marks a clear departure from the smooth ambient electronica featured on Charles-Emile Beullac's previous opuses. The new direction leads to a dense jungle of ethnic instruments, exotic field recordings, and alien-sounding aural illusions. The album features a number of Indonesian instruments Beullac bought on a trip to Indonesia, a trip plagued by the side effects of anti-malaria medication. "Disturbing dreams, irrational fears, [and] fatigue" permeate through the digital manipulations of the instruments and the eerie atmospheres. From the heat-struck metal bowing in "Soleil d'acier" (superb use of harmonics) to the choppy and disquieting loops of "Mirages Rémanents," Faux World takes you on a journey through both an alien world and the inner self. Gone are the sweet post-rockish melodies of Galerie Stratique's previous albums, although the percussion-driven tracks sketch gamelan-like melodies of their own. The tunes have been replaced by some serious -- and seriously skilled -- soundsmithing, electro-acoustic-style. Yet the album retains a high level of spontaneity, offset by a narrative-like structure: 15 short pieces loosely gathered into three suites, or movements, or stages. First comes the shock of the alienness of Indonesia (to a Canadian) -- and the shock of the meds (tracks one through six). Then comes a rather peaceful sequence (tracks 7-11) of discovery and marvel. Finally, tracks 12-15 tell of disorientation upon returning home and the memories that remain, cast in the haze of illness. Somewhere between electronica and sound art, deep and abstract yet colorful, bouncy at times and thoroughly captivating, Faux World provides a thrilling listen and stands as a very strong artistic statement from Beullac. Highly recommended.

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