Loscil & Lawrence English at Le Petit Bain

Support: Les Marquises
February 14, 2024 at Le Petit Bain

As Valentine’s day casts its enchanting spell upon the city of love, what better way could one celebrate love’s ineffable essence than by immersing oneself in the ethereal realms of ambient soundscapes. Whether it be with hearts entwined or with with one’s lone drifting soul, likeminded amateurs of the avant-garde set their course for a night of solemn reflection aboard le Petit Bain.

Nestled within the embrace of a dimly lit venue, the stage and audience welcomed the entrance of the French duo Les Marquises. Initially known as a experimental pop group, the group dedicated their set to their fifth and latest LP Soleils Noirs, a voyage beyond their stylistic roots that dabbles into a cinematic, largely instrumental sounds of ambient. Set to a backdrop of grainy, glowing landscapes and macro shots, the venue drew breath to the sounds of mournful, echoing synth wails and brooding, looming subwoofer rumbles steadily pulsating like the earth’s heartbeat. Whirring buzzes and glassy chiming bells later delved our senses in the great green wilderness, completed by ominous sound design confronting our senses with the mighty, stern forces of nature.

Complementing Les Marquises’s organic audiovisual experience came an equally soothing hour of ambient compositions, courtesy of Canadian multi-media artist Scott Morgan (aka Loscil) and Australian composer Lawrence English. Like emotions themselves, their joint effort Colours of Air transcends the tangible. Articulated around recordings of an old pipe organ, their collaborative record transposes the sacred, ineffable quality of its raw sound sources into new, abstract textures evoking a myriad of moods and sensations. Droning engines stutter, sub-bass rumbles swell and pulsate in an ominous, purgatory stillness, growing and expanding layer by layer into a mighty sonic force moving through your body. With a vague flair of drumless techno, the muted brooding compositions evoked a deep, sense of melancholy and muted grit.

Following an encore dedicated to a new composition by Loscil, the duo neatly wrapped up a spellbinding Valentine’s soirée far from clichés and platitudes. On a day where plastic hearts and ephemeral trinkets serve as vulgar stand-ins for one of humankind’s most valuable and powerful emotions, Loscil and Lawrence English offered an evening of deep introspection and class.

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