In the past year, Type Records have released several excellent albums from young electronic artists (Khonnor, Ryan Teague) who seem to show talent and vision beyond their years and this newest effort from Julien Neto is no exception. Based in part on the poems of Keats, the subtle romanticism of the release is also seemingly inspired by Neto's home city of Paris, France. Delicate organic instrumentation is mixed with a very soft blend of electronic filtering for a release that calls to mind work by Colleen and even Max Richter.
"I (One)" opens the release like a true introductory piece as filtered flutes drift like smokey curls while glints of electronic tones flicker and a quiet drift of deep rhythm lulls everything along. "Sketch" takes more of the sweeping flute sound and melds it to soft synths and fluttering plucks of harp while "VI (Featuring Keith Kenniff)" mingles piano, harp, and other filtered sounds alongside clicky beats.
With ten tracks running just over forty minutes, Le Fumeur De Ciel is a rare release that actually feels longer than it really is, yet doesn't have the bad conotations associated with such. "Musicbox" runs only three minutes long but sweeps you into a world of reverberating tones and pulses that could easily drift on for much longer than it does. Likewise, "Questionable Things" adds spoken-word samples and quiet clicks to a track that envelops the listener like the dense washes of Stars Of The Lid.
The album barely raises above a whisper, but it really does reward close listening. "III" calls to mind a more pastoral Tim Hecker while "V (Rivers)" opens with a glorious haze of filtered instrumentation before dropping off into a second half that mingles bits of the first with watery programming. While the release from Neto is definitely melancholy in large part, the tonal range of the album is such that it never feels like a heavy weight. If you're into the aforementioned artists, or simply enjoy excellent music that combines electronic and acoustic elements, this is something to seek out.