On the face of it when the bedroom boffins stepped out as unlikely musical saviours in the late ’90s it seemed like a ‘good thing’ to rail against an industry turning out ‘stars’ like a factory production line. But it seems the time has come when the flood is now of faceless duvet-confessors and messy bedroom scenesters inspiring thoughts of bolting the bedroom door until they tidy their tunes, or at least have something to say.
On the face of it Australian Victor Bermon’s debut Arriving At Night appears to be no different to its predecessors, offering no flamboyant swoop, controversy or brightly coloured ego-flash to court the music press and grab the attention.
Instead it meekly steps from its journey into a dim lit netherworld blinking where tunes and moods are upon you before you know it, opening as gently and gracefully as petals unfurling. The pulse and breath of beats creep into the picture to give the wide brushstrokes of sound something to focus on before it all drifts off the edges of the soundstage. For this is truly cinematic music for your own personal arthouse movie. Perhaps that’s why the fantastically titled Harry Hohen chooses to hide behind the film-noirish sounding pseudonym Victor Bermon to reflect the unassuming moniker of a man sitting in a room absorbing the world and releasing his findings through his pores.
Shuffling off-beat ‘stumble-tronica’ of opener Farewell Lunch for Laura calls to mind Album Leaf‘s earlier work, the hushed acoustics of Roger Eno and his brother Brian Eno and the more accessible part of Kieran Hebden‘s early Fridge project. Like a dusty MP3 that keeps sticking and colliding with other tunes, it marches to a jazz beat that switches gears like some post-hip hop downtime tune or some old DJ Shadow offcut.
We Face Each Other tiptoes through wide and warm ambient tones (like Brian Eno) and delicate acoustic melodies (like Roger Eno) weaving amongst each other in a suitably downbeat and wistful, like rubbing your laptop down the window when its raining…perhaps.
Similarly Unprepared calls to mind the shifting ambient beauty of the spaceman soundtrack Apollo by the Eno brothers in the long drawn-out synthesised notes and layers of melodic counterpoint.
Continuing this theme of ‘folks in space’ View Of The Islands opens with a banjo loop and builds a spinning top of melody that teeters and totters like a mini-galaxy
The twinkling, sensing fingers of melody that poke through the xylophone-tickling First Encounters seem at first to be seeking something uncertianly before losing itself in its whirlpool of explorations.
The slight pastel colours of chopped primary school-style Portrait and Stacked Notebooks skips past almost without making contact but reveal themselves to be beasts of layered textures rubbing against the grain, and smoothing down the fur at the same stroke.
So not an album of ‘bedroom bangers’ from your ‘local city poet’ then, but like the quiet passenger on a long journey this is the soundtrack to the hushed details and moods of journeys taken, imagined and invented. Background music from a bedroom boffin does have a place in the world beyond mere musical wallpaper when the scenery and tour guides are so good.