I miss the mid-90s. It was a time there when life seemed full of possibility, and every where you turned there was exciting music being created, especially in the realm of electronic music. I think i bought a different compilation CD every week, and all of them were great! (I still listen to Astralwerks 4-disc Excursions in Ambient series with some regularity.)
And then the new millennium started, and it seems as if electronica (and people in general) lost the way. I blame Jungle/Breakbeat/Dubstep/whatever-the-heck-they-are-calling-it-this-week. Now every tune has to move at a breakneck pace, and the rhythms have to be cut up and mangled. Oh, and most songs must feature a diva singing, even if the vocals are also cut up and mangled, a la Burial, or The Bug.
I want songs that move along at a head-nodding pace, unhurried but still moving, and vocals if there are any, should be some silly sample, or a half-heard voice speaking something. Fortunately for me, Schengen are still carrying the banner of mid-90s "ambient" electronica. The stuff on Ce Gil would have fit right in with those Astralwerks compilations, or even on the Bad Orb stuff from earlier in this decade. Why don't more people use their laptops to generate dub anymore?
I suppose that this CD is "uncool". The pace that these songs move at would frustrate your average coked up / ecstasy-addled dance clubber. And that is just fine with me. This is a really lovely disc if you are into this sort of dub-like music. There is a 4-song sweep of tunes that just really gets me going.
It starts off with Duc, in which layers of keyboard wash up against one another, buried in a mid-80s electronic echo (think Here Comes The Rain Again by The Eurythmics), while a simple beat plinks along. It is five minutes of bouncey fun. Hill Views carries the theme forward, the echoed keyboard bit washed out in the background under a plinking piano tone and a tight drum sample. Andalucian Skies features a faster beat, the high-hat bouncing along like something from Orbus Terrarum while a sampled guitar loop grinds back and forth. Then Smashes starts with a sampled lap and a synth hand clap, while strange percussion sounds (like an electronic mimic of a human beatbox) dance overtop of a happy synth melody.
This is a glorious sweep of song, the likes of which i have not heard in many a year. The rest of the record is pretty similar, and if you like the things i have touched on then you will enjoy this whole disc.
I have gotten a lot of enjoyment out of this release. At just over 35 minutes long, it is way too short, but i guess i must take this sort of music where i can get it these days. Thank you, Schengen, for making electronic dub in an era of cut-n-paste spastic diva electronica. Keep the faith!