Encre Encre

The debut by French minimalist composer Yann Tambour as Encre is a work of heartbreaking beauty. With spacious arrangements built around softly crashing drums, piano, guitar and the odd crackly loop, Encre evokes feelings of unspecified melancholy and the existential sorrow of life's daily defeats. The mood is perfect for Tambour's spoken introspections that, although entirely in French, manage to transcend their linguistic limitations. The soaring "Trouves-en un Autre" opens the disc, followed by the creeping waltz of "Nocturnes" and its unexpected explosions of industrial noise. The remaining tracks are characterised by an understated exquisiteness and are fuelled by the electricity of Tambour's hypnotic whispers. A bonus disc featuring live versions of four tracks gives a visceral, guitar-heavy treatment to the original material. While the true magic resides in the quiet intimacy of the originals, the captivating performances are nonetheless confirmation that Encre is capable of life beyond the studio. Clocking in at a modest 33 minutes, Tambour packs more emotion into a half-hour than other artists do in a lifetime. The ideal soundtrack for roaming the quiet, austere corridors of the heart. (Triage)