The Humble Bee & Benoît Pioulard – I suppose I’m your future

“I Suppose I’m Your Future”  is a collaborative release between The Humble Bee (aka Craig Tattersall) and Benoit Pioulard. As artists, there is overlap in what they do in that both work in time-slowing electronic minimalist spheres, but in terms of melody and approach, the two have unique voices. Where this work finds them merging is in delving into some of their murkiest, minimalist terrain.

“Honesty” opens things up with the  slow intro of some arpeggiated chords and some plucked strings.  Those strings stay up front and what is slowly unfurled is a back drop of droning hiss. It’s an unusual approach to put all that steadiness up front and have the evolving parts of the piece slowly working away in the background.  But what opens as the warmth of some hiss starts to slowly unfurl like a fog, becoming all-consuming. That drone-y hiss takes an almost grand, orchestral quality. And with that all-consuming hiss, Pioulard and Tatersall have the listener fully emerged in the world of their collaboration.

With second song “Risom”, the album starts to get more expansive with the piece’s languid pace and the help of some dusty almost desert-eque guitar work. Arpeggiated chords on various instruments, most indiscernible, circle almost like dust clouds – forming than exploding back into the grains of sound from whence they came. 

“Off Camera” takes another left turn and offers some choral sounding voices that morph into vapors silhouetted against a vast sky. There’s a sense of dissolution with many of the pieces, like something solid is turned amorphous – like a river of liquid colours snaking together, or a television where the tracking starts to slip and the images compress in on themselves – they are fundamentally there, but consumed by their own digitization.

“In the anodyne brisk” is a rapid flicker of sound, undulating along. Occasional bass notes drop and explode, keeping the listener on edge. And then? Only the bass notes remain and the piece itself dissolves into a vast space consuming itself, a wall of sound panning left to right until nothing remains. The album is both grand but always on the brink of flickering to a million mico-melodies. 

“Grey Confetti” operates to the same effect, only this time it sounds like a violin and perhaps some sort of horned instrument. It verges on the notion of the haunted ballroom, but rather than simply being lost in time, there’s an almost alien effect to it. There’s a distinct warbling effect to it that feels like a ceiling coming to squash the primary sounds of the song, always verging them on total destruction.   

 “Per” opens with tattered shards of a melody. The sounds build in layers though, almost toppling and replacing each other. Unlike the previous pieces, there is no central melody to serve as counterpoint to the decay, instead that central is almost merged with all that hiss and the melody and the cacophony vibrate together. Somehow, that’s almost even more unsettling, as if there’s no place of calm to hide. A gentle piano-melody ushers the song out of existence.

Final piece” Folly” is like a gentle release – more slow arpeggiated melodies, but the dronier aspects breathe more, giving it an airy quality as the piece seems to slowly unfurl to the album’s end. 

“I Suppose I’m Your Future” is, as ever for Dauw, a special year-end release. It’s an immersive affair that finds two strong voices working together, each at peak form, by carving out enough space for each other to shine. It’s a mosaic of small melodies that invites you into the smallness of its space to find a place to immerse yourself for a brief respite. And it finds another common ground between the two artists in that it preserves enough mystery to make you eagerly curious to see what each will do next.

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