Top 20 Releases of 2013: No.6 – Lo-shi – Flasque

Flasque

Spice bottle, self-released, 2013

This Japan-besed duo (via France, Tahiti and the UK) was a lesson in expertly crafted, genre-defying experimental yet accessible instrumental music. Yet where work that throws together genres to this extent can often result in work that is disjointed and maundering, Flasque is throughout an elegant and coherent artistic statement shot through with a cocktail of beauty, menace and a distinctly Gallic sense of humour.

幽客 from Lo-shi on Vimeo.

Flasque is at heart a collection of cinematic soundscapes, with reverb-heavy guitar reflecting both a fondness for 80s-style indie guitar music, particularly on closing track Yu-kaku, and what was probably way too much time spent watching Twin Peaks in their youth — a show which is sampled heavily in The Pink Lodge. Underlying the tracks, on the other hand, things suggest a 90s spent immersed in the skittering beats and ambient sonic textures of artists like Orbital, not to mention a strong and deep appreciation of Krautrock (“Kraut’n’bass” is one of the duo’s preferred descriptors for their music, and marginally more useful as a tool than “NudeCouscousTaoistBeatCore”) in the application of loops and repetition, as well as the way synths are used to create a sonic layer that sits between the beats and guitars.

I called Flasque cinematic earlier, and there’s more to that than simply Lo-shi’s frequent use of movie samples. The collaboration of sound and vision is key to how they approach music, with live performances always delivered with a video accompaniment and the duo also having dabbled in live soundtrack performances. Obviously on the recorded version that element isn’t present, but it still informs the content, and the content is compelling.

Piston from Lo-shi on Vimeo.

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