Record review: L. Pierre – Surface Noise [Melodic]

Melo087Whether it’s Bowie raiding the dressing up box for Ziggy Stardust or Beyonce vamping it up as Sasha Fierce, there’s nothing a musician loves more than an alter ego; a cipher through which they can live out there daftest or most fantastic fantasies.

L Pierre is just such a double, drawn from the imagination of Aidan Moffat, formerly slightly more than fifty percent of Glaswegian legends, Arab Strap.

In this fictionalised (or is it?) narrative the key moment in Pierre’s development was his hearing Julie Covington’s rendition of ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’ and unleashing a “lifelong pursuit of drama, strings and loveliness.”

For those more familiar with his erratic but imaginative Twitter feed, Moffat’s latest EP may come as something of a surprise, casting a man whose interests encompass Dora the Explorer, Katy Perry videos and Robocop as the curator of a series of dusty sound collages based around brief bars of strings and the ever present hiss of worn-out vinyl.

With each brief track listed under a “movement” rather than a track name, Surface Noise draws equally from British composers like Edward Elgar and the experimental musique concrète that also influenced Mogwai’s highly acclaimed soundtrack work on Les Revenants.

The snap, crackle and pop of old vinyl is as essential to Surface Noise as the more conventional instruments giving the EP the feel of a recently uncovered treasure, but composed as it is of fleeting fragments no melody is long or insistent enough to really register on an emotional level.

‘Movement VI’ knowingly references Elgar’s ‘Nimrod’ but most likely Surface Noise will remain just a footnote in Moffat’s story.

Challenging aspects aside however, it offers compelling evidence of one man’s musical curiosity and continuing ability to surprise.

Words: Max Sefton

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