Chic, seductive and delicately daubed in opaque mystery, the beautified lounge noir dialects of Art of the Memory Palace’s ‘Voiture Blanche Dans Le Noir’ soundtrack are sure to appeal first and foremost to the folk over at Finders Keepers. Cooled in lush cosmopolitan tropes ghosted in a sonic vintage so exquisitely crafted that you swear it had stepped from the late 60’s, there’s a momentary pause wherein just for a second you suspect you’d stumbled across a lost soundtrack rescued on a recent vinyl vault dig. ‘Voiture Blanche Dans Le Noir’ provides the micro tape label Horror Pop Sounds with its second release, a super limited, to just 100 copies, cassette with download variations.
A soundtrack to a lost 70’s French film directed by the darling of the Left Bank Claude Doine. The story in short follows protagonist Alain as he desperately tracks the whereabouts of his girlfriend Iris who mysteriously disappears, as the story unravels a white Citroen is never far away as each of their friends and colleagues are taken in the night, are the two connected in what is a secret Government plot or is this something far more sinister. As the plot unravels, Art of the Memory Palace’s silken symphonia breezes between moments of mesmeric translucence (as on the brief bucolic bewitchment that is ‘flight of shadows’) and stilled shadow traced solemnness that not only exquisitely captures the tension, desperation and edginess throughout but simultaneously vividly portrays and paints the shifting and changing personality of a city beneath the cloak of night.
At once elegant and eerie, ‘Voiture Blanche Dans Le Noir’ clearly applies the sonic vocabulary of John Barry to colour its base palette, case in point being ‘Phares Sous La Pluie’ whose psychosis chill manages to marry elements of ‘Vendetta’ and ‘the Ipcress Files’. Oozed in dulcimers and harpsichords, a rich melodic vibrancy is drawn forth, that hints of evenings set aside to meticulously pour over platters from the likes of Jean Claude Vannier, Jean Pierre Mirouze, Francois de Roubaix and Ennio Morricone (with ‘Spasmo’ appearing to be a clear influence). Amid these grooves there’s the breathless parting act ‘Voiture Blanche Dans Le Noir’ – a sumptuously demurred love note softly soured in loss and regret as it sweetly serenades with the same lush enchantment that graced Cat’s Eyes quite ethereally beautiful ‘The Duke of Burgundy’ set. What might escape the attention or thought processes is the fact that ‘Voiture’ stretches the usual AotMP spectrum, putting them on the back foot straying from their usual comfort zone and trademark sound template (fear not for both ‘Iris la baie des anges’ and ‘sleepwalkers theme’ should scratch that kosmiche itch) only to emerge out of the other side with much artistic aplomb to their credit, for here its apparent they’ve done their homework in so much as acclimatizing to the vibe of the period. Take for instance ‘Dead Bronze Hours’ which subtly draws upon the influence of both Goblin and Andrzej Korzynski, the former again recalled on the dream weaving ‘Promenade Onism’ – one for you palace of swords admirers I shouldn’t wonder. Elsewhere ‘a tilt remains’ comes seductively stroked in the mercurial mosaics of a youthful Broadcast as were shimmied up the much-missed Italo imprint Shado while scratch away at the chill toned bachelor pad noir grooving of ‘a New Absence’ and an imagined tryst between Stereolab / Monade and Komeda seductively swirls amid the listening space. An essential acquisition and sure to be one of the defining recording moments of the year. The cassette incidentally, comes in three colour variations replete with download codes and an A3 film poster. https://www.facebook.com/horrorpopsounds/