GNOME & SPYBEY – Beyond Willie’s Place (CD Tourette)
The second collaborative album between Spybey (ex-Zoviet France, Dead Voices On Air, Beehatch, Propeller, etc.) and Gnome, real name Tony d’Oporto, who has been active himself during recent years in various electronic and post-dancefloor realms under the guises of Plump Kitties and Gnomes Of Kush.
As with other post-Zoviet France work by Spybey, there’s a smooth finish to this album that tends to render it rather sterile at times, but there’s no question that he’s a talented artist brimming with ideas that are here, on their second such release, duly bounced off Gnome to reasonable effect. ‘Aether Or’ commences everything with a tempered and spacey approach not so far removed from either the galaxy Pete Namlook has journeyed or, indeed, what one may expect to listen to after looking at the appropriately psychedelic cover artwork to Beyond Willie’s Place. Even the following piece’s title, ‘Kosmos’, further compounds the fact we are in spacehead land, where the electronics are permanently set on ‘filmic’ and the rhythms nod along accordingly.
It’s all fine enough, although not especially captivating beyond its breezing about in the background in the manner of something generally designed not to be thought about too much. Little labyrinthine touches and some carefully woven details help lift everything at certain junctures, but the overriding airiness does little to distract one from the steaming brew sitting handily to the side of the laptop or all of the concomitant thoughts this enticing fact brings with it.‘Death Wore Nothing But A Smile’, resting at the centre of the album, scatters a few more contours into the fray aiming a little further than those elsewhere, while both ‘Williesaygo’ and ‘Letting Go Thoughts’ possess lulling melodic lines that wouldn’t seem out of place amongst James Blackshaw’s work. Without doubt, it is such pieces that stand out and clearly illustrate Gnome & Spybey do possess the ability to take things up a notch. Let’s hope they do. RJ