Between organic and synthetic, Ashinoa takes us on an intense cinematic trip
It’s been a while we didn’t publish here, sorry for that, and I’m coming back today with a bit of an odd album. “L’Orée” is the third album of the french band Ashinoa and their first with the amazing Londonian psych label Fuzz Club Records. With some cool appearances in french underground venues and festivals, as well as nifty openings for killer bands (Metz, Flamingods, Bo Ningen, Kikagaku Moyo, Minami Deutsch…), the Lyon-based quintet grows steadily and so does their sound. Releasing today, “L’Orée” is not your usual fuzz-drenched banger, but a rather intriguing trippy journey, so open your third ear and buckle up!
How’s The Sound?
Their first records were an interesting blend of experimental krautrock, with this one, Ashinoa kept on pushing this sound forward, accentuating their industrial vibe, while shoving in lots of other influences. With the core of their identity sticking to their krautrock roots, at the same time, they explored quite further away from it. They sprinkled dub elements all over, dived towards trip-hop at times, with hints of blues here or jazzy vibes there, without forgetting the occasional far-out drones to take your mind on a whole other kind of numbing trip.
The quintet changed their surroundings for the recording process, getting out of the city to breathe the fresh air of a remote house surrounded by pine trees. They wanted to bring their sound out of its comfort zone, and see how it would react in a different environment, with less concrete and more nature. Quite an interesting idea, especially considering how synthetic Ashinoa usually sounds, with heavy use of synthesizers, samples, and other digital effects. As the environment didn’t really revolutionize this, it sure brought some freshness and contrast, infusing its aura to the melodies and atmospheres the band crafted there. To me, “L’Orée” sounds like a digital oddity to Mother Nature, with the band using the tools they know best to depict new sorts of feelings, themes, and landscapes.
Something that shines through most of this LP is its contemplative side, the production is spotless and gives a tremendous perspective. Even with all the instruments and effects, there’s always lots of space, I’m guessing that’s one of the effects of their recording spot, opening the horizon, giving the room to each sound to freely express itself, reverberating on the natural relief or losing itself in the distance. If you close your eyes and let your mind wander off, you’ll feel the wind in those pine trees, smell this characteristic wax smell, turning into a bird surfing on these blissful melodies.
All the influences melted into this record bring quite diverse atmospheres throughout the journey. On top of that, you can always trust Ashinoa to manage to give a bouncy feeling to their tracks, through groovy basslines, motorik grooves, or electronic beats. Using tight tension buildups to break, for a short while, the overall peaceful dynamic going on, they give another kind of contrast to the global picture. Somehow, “L’Orée” sounds really tribal, in a futuristic alternative version, bringing together natural instincts and digital hypnosis. That might be what keeps this album so interesting, this duality of antagonistic forces never really leaning to one side or the other. I feel it rather like two flows clashing against each other and at the same time intertwined to create a new form of hybrid between synthetic and organic.
Why is this album worth listening to?
- Ashinoa expands their universe, exploring with mastery further and wider than before.
- “L’Orée” is an out-of-this-world journey, melting electronic and analog into wholesome.
- This is a super dense and rich album, take your time and several listenings, as there are lots of layers and depths.
In what situation should you listen to this album?
With your favorite book, buried in a pile of pillows by your window, letting the hours go by without noticing you left it on repeat.
Something particular to note?
“l’orée” is the french word for the edge of a forest, I don’t know if that was intended, but I find this title especially fitting for Ashinoa‘s last output, standing at the edge between digital and natural.