Always on the quest for electronica's most obtuse sonic explorers, Agoria's Infiné label has signed up Composer, an improbable union of two musicians from opposite backgrounds. Eric Raynaud, whose Fraction moniker might be familiar to Infiné's followers, falls on the more experimental side of IDM, while Guillaume Eluerd has more of a folk grounding (although he also likes to play with machines under the Nimp pseudonym). Together, on The Edges of the World, they make the kind of digital chamber music Agoria uses to pepper his more moody mix CDs.
To wit, "The First Time" gives a cajoling go at minimalist electronic pop à la The xx while subtle lullaby "Aqualung" offers more daring atmospheres and an abstract yet captivating finale. "Seven Days" even attempts bass music without the bass, leaving you with dubstep-ish syncopation and an overall intriguing proposal.
Unfortunately, the album's downfall is the vocals. "The Edges of the World" showcases Suzanne the Man, and it sadly displays a slightly dated trip-hop vibe. She also appears on album opener "Check Chuck" and on the disquieting "Rooftop," which both flirt with leftfield indie disco. When Raynaud or Eluerd themselves get behind the mic elsewhere, you're confronted with half-arsed attempts at singing in English, which annoyingly sounds like the male equivalent of Mlle Caro's infamous impassive elocution. "Biome" takes the total abstraction route and comes across as a beat-less, four minute introduction to the album's penultimate cut, which is also its most accomplished: "Polar Bear" works because of its gritty and restless bassline, but also because it ditches all of the album's previous preciousness for less upfront vocals.
Sometimes Infiné's releases are easier to respectfully nod your head to than fully immerse yourself within. This one is no different: The Edges of the World, for all its ingeniousness and meticulous attention to detail, ultimately makes it hard to ignite anything more than genuine but polite acknowledgement.
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Tracklist: Composer - The Edges of the World 01. Check Chuck
02. The First Time
03. Seven Days
05. The Edges of the World
09. Polar Bear