There is something happening in the world where minimal, techno and IDM meet: it seems to be embracing jazz music. There were elements of its instrumentation and structure in both Nicolas Jaar's and Acid Pauli's debut solo albums and last year Ricardo Villalobos and Max Loderbauer teamed up to produce Re:ECM, an album of tracks based on material from the jazz and classical label ECM Records.
Lune is the debut release from French-born Berlin resident Fabien Vilain and it is similarly influenced by free jazz, applying the structure and styles to minimal electronic music. There is a significant variety of styles here but the drive to experiment is consistent throughout.
The opening track is filled with ambient noise, snatches of violins, spoken word, gentle but rapid background percussion and slowly moving organs. It is a three-minute taster of the sounds to come that seems to be assembling itself before the listener, like an orchestra warming up.
Title track 'Lune' is where Vilain hits his stride, a synthesis of loose jazz drumming and bumping electronic beats - brushed drums, snatches of high-hat and a stop-start four-four. Rather than end the track gently and touchingly seems to run out of forward momentum. Not everything is as delicate though, 'Note For Sale' is a bouncy Latin-jazz number, sharply cut and seemingly made for cocktails in the sunshine.
As it nears its conclusion Lune becomes increasingly experimental. The final two tracks bar one, 'Le Jour Aime Le Nuit' and 'While Others Go And Come', are almost 12- and 14-minutes long respectively. The former is shot through with ghostly ambient notes, broken drum beats and spoken vocals, though my reliance on English leaves their meaning opaque here. Both are just the sort of mad-hatter music you expect of Villalobos, and Vilain delivers it convincingly.
Of course Lune isn't an easy listen, but this sort of thing never is. It is best consumed in clutches - a few songs at a time, whilst your concentration remains high. It is undoubtedly beautifully constructed and convincingly put together.
The artwork also deserves a special mention - the digital review copy features a series of distorted and destroyed ink and watercolours, with different artwork for each track. These compliment the music perfectly.
Lune is released through Apparel Music physically on 8 October and digitally on 29 October.