Album Reviews

John Foxx – Tiny Colour Movies

(Metamatic) UK release date: 31 July 2006

John Foxx - Tiny Colour Movies This solo album from Ultravox keyboard player John Foxx continues his occupation with music made by machines, but rather than continue the blustering electronica of an album such as the recent Louis Gordon collaboration Crash And Burn he opts to revisit the ambient territory of the Cathedral Oceans series, with wonderfully soothing results.

Where Crash And Burn was darkly cinematic and had several chaotic vocal tracks, not to mention plenty of white noise, Tiny Colour Movies sheds all unnecessary interference, opting instead for single, pure lines of synthesized sound and consonant harmonies.

Nor is it in anything approaching a hurry, a feature that links it inescapably with Brian Eno‘s brand of ambience. With Foxx previously collaborating with and admiring Harold Budd, this is not a huge surprise. Gone are the knife-edged textures, the paranoia and the hard hitting drumbeats. This time it comes as something of a shock when drums are employed at all, and when they are it is with great economy.

That’s not to suggest either that these tiny movies are ambient doodling of no consequence. Far from it, as each movie has its own specific plot detailed in the booklet. This comes from a private viewing that Foxx has of Arnold Weizcs-Bryant‘s private collection of film, a session that transfixed the composer and directly inspired the album.

So it proves that Looped Los Angeles, the most urgent of the 14 tracks, soundtracks loops of Arthur J Barratt‘s journeys along the freeway, or that the damaged fragments of Frank Sinatra used in the opening track are given pure treble lines that take their own relaxed path.

Foxx’s aptitude with his instruments has helped him to produce a short album that acts like a head massage, never asking too much of the listener as it drifts in and out of consciousness. It would be truly fascinating to view an accompanying DVD, but there’s enough in the booklet and our own imaginations to make our own tiny colour movies. In this respect Foxx opens many doors with music of glassy purity, like bathing in a cool stream.

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More on John Foxx
John Foxx And The Maths – Howl
John Foxx – B-Movie (Ballardian Video Neuronica)
John Foxx & Steve D’Agostino – Evidence Of Time Travel
John Foxx And The Maths – Evidence
John Foxx And The Maths: “We don’t want any pastiches. I’m far too old for nostalgia” – Interview