Shikharettes & Khukuris
Double Happiness Wholesale
Ye Ama Piooo!
Summer Grass / Winter Worm
Baikonour – Your Ear Knows Future
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Your Ear Knows Future is the second album by Brighton’s Baikonour, aka Jean-Emmanuel Krieger. Three years on from For The Lonely Hearts Of The Cosmos, his acclaimed debut, Baikonour has delivered another burst of smart, proggy poptronica, bursting with Gallic charm and myriad, fully realised ideas.
Krieger was born in Versailles, France, the city that has also spawned Air and Phoenix. But it’s Brighton that he calls home and where the album was recorded, with Jean-Emmanuel playing all the instruments on the record bar the drums. Fujiya & Miyagi’s Lee Adams fills in there as according to Krieger, Adams has “the strongest right leg in the business.”
The album’s title is written in Krieger’s self-described “accidental English” – the everyday misuse of the English language that generates exciting new words and phrases. The phrase “your ear knows future” was first uttered by the album’s Japanese sleeve designer Eiji.
Your Ear Knows Future finds Baikonour making confident strides as an artist, turning in a collection of tracks that fuse electronica with motorik Krautrock and the dynamics of MBV and The Cocteau Twins. Never straying from Krieger’s modus operandi: to mix electronic and traditional instruments and produce music with timeless quality. In describing individual tracks, Krieger cites Amon Duul 2, Popol Vuh, Harold Budd, Eno Harmonia, Neu! Vangelis, Magma and Melody Nelson-era Gainsbourg as inspirations.
The biggest influence, however, is Nepal. Krieger is a frequent visitor to south Asia, and has worked raising money for Tibetan refugees. He set up and runs his own charity organisation Help Rural Nepal. For Your Ear Knows Future, Krieger took each track title from phrases and names he has encountered there. Shikarettes & Khukuris are Nepalese cigarettes, Chiru is an antelope that lives on the Tibetan plateau and Fly Tiger is a Himalayan spider. Ye Ama Pioo!, meanwhile, translates as ‘I’m having sex with your mum’ in Tamang language.
“It’s a Himalayan shepherd’s joke,” explains Krieger. “The shepherds shout out in the mountains at night to see if there are other shepherds around.”
Krieger began releasing music as Baikonour in 2001, naming his musical persona after the former Soviet missile base in Kazakhstan. He makes his music on computer, using emulations of classic ’60s compressors and EQs. As well as a large selection of vintage guitars, keyboards and effects spanning the 60s, 70s and 80s, selecting the correct one for the sound he’s after. “I’m nuts about sonic details!” he confesses.
“I hope people can take their time to enjoy my music, and not use the shuffle function on their iPod,” he has said. “I hope they just let their mind drift in space, let their ego dissolve and make one with the rest of the cosmos.”