Hedgehog Procession (At Dawn)
Ethylic Fugue In Q Minor
The Meadow Green
Airborne Heliotropic Medusae
Rec.Tangle – Heavy Maple
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Welcome to Heavy Maple, the debut album from rec.tangle, aka Brighton-based, France-born Adrien Rodes. A lush, dream-like, instrumental whirl, it’s the first flowering of a major talent, and the new incarnation of the artist formerly known as Topo Gigio.
Recorded as-live with Adrien playing almost all the parts (“I’m too autistic to have formed a band,” he says), the album sees Adrien move away from his sample-heavy origins to instrumental music. 70’s synthesizers, acoustic guitars, acoustic and electric pianos, percussion, organs, sitar, zither and harp-like instruments were all crammed into the 8-foot square recording space that Adrien shares with Stereolab/Jr Electronics’ Joe Watson and Baikonour’s Jean-Emmanuel Krieger in pursuit of the album’s full sound.
“I like when music is a blend rather than individual distinct instruments, so I tend to overlay a lot of parts,” he says. “It’s probably not healthy – look what happened to Phil Spector. But this record is quite pastoral in a way, more like a Hedge Of Sound.
The bits that weren’t played by Adrien were largely a family affair. Adrien’s brother Etienne played guitar and his sister-in-law Marie did the vocal harmonies. Classically trained drummer Alex Eberhard supplied the beats and, in Adrien’s words, “sexed up my fascist drum programming.”
We put it to Adrien that he’s created a krautrock prog opus. He corrects: “Being French, it would have to be a Choucroute Frogrock opus.” Alternatively, he says, you could see it as “the soundtrack to a late night documentary on sea turtles.”
However you view it, the album has been a long time coming. Adrien first signed to Melodic under the name Topo Gigio as a precocious 19-year-old, but his output has been anything but prolific. Ten years later, his name now changed to rec.tangle, he’s finally ready to release his debut.
“When I first got in touch with Melodic I had hopes to release my first album before turning 20,” says Adrien. “It did not turn out that way and it’s probably for the best retrospectively. I would have turned into a conceited little shit.”
Adrien puts the ten year wait for his debut album down to a long period of being “miserable,” the lengthy rethink from Topo Gigio’s sample-heavy style to rec.tangle’s lush instrumentals. “The good aspect of sampling is that it got me to expend my record collection with all sorts of wirdness: how many bollywood, Hawaiian or gamelan records does a normal person need? Car boot sales can be better at expending your musical horizons than last.fm. I’ve grown to love all sorts of unorthodox music genres which (hopefully) have helped me come up with something out of the ordinary.”
Born in St. Cloud, France, Adrien was first exposed to music while in the womb, as his mother would meditate while playing Miles Davis’s In A Silent Way over and over. Later, Adrien’s father – a music-loving architect – introduced him to everything from John Coltrane to US folk and Gregorian chants. “Designing a house or making up a song is pretty much the same exercise,” muses Adrien. “Although I don’t need to worry about fire exits.”
Adrien moved to the UK aged 19, and values the diversity of culture in his adopted home. He hasn’t ruled out the idea of moving back, but only on his terms: “We really need a lot of people to buy my record so we can move to a castle in Ardèche,” he says. “I promise to invite any paying listeners over for barbeque.”
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