Strings of Consciousness: Herve Vincenti (guitars); Raphaelle Rinaudo (harp); Alison Chesley (cello); Perceval Bellone (clarinet); Stefano Tedesco (vibraphone); Pierre Fenichel (double bass); Andy Diagram (electronics); Philippe Petit (laptop).
Additional personnel: Lisa Smith Klossner, Pete Simonelli, J.G. Thirlwell, Scott McCloud, Barry Adamson, Black Sifichi, Eugene Robinson (vocals); Karim Tobbi, Nicolas Dick (guitar); Lenka Zupkov (violin); Lydwine Vanderhulst (piano); Abdenor Natouri, Sarah Elze (double bass); Hugh Hopper (electric bass).
In experimental circles, electronica-related and otherwise, the mid-2000s marked a slight return to the song format. Call it the logical extension of the underground folk revival or more simply a desire to apply experimental findings to genres of wider appeal, the fact remains that noisy textures, electronic constructs, and post-rock anthems permeated into the song realm, to a point where some reviewers started writing about "electro-acoustic pop." Strings of Consciousness' debut full-length marvelously illustrates how artistically successful this approach can be. The international collective blends acoustic instruments (sax, cello, trumpet, harp, vibraphone) and computer treatments; melodies and texture layers; narratives and abstractions. The group's lineup features seasoned experimentalists Herv‚ Vincenti, Stefano Tedesco, and Philippe Petit, Spaceheads/Pere Ubu's Andy Diagram, the Sea and Cake's Alison Chesley -- and that's only part of the group's core. Also present are the guest vocalists: Foetus' J.G. Thirlwell, Girls Against Boys' Scott McCloud, and the almighty Barry Adamson, again just to name a few. The music does not blend only sound sources (acoustic/electronic), but genres, too: folk, industrial (the Current 93-tinged "Crystallize It"), even Western in "In Between," featuring a captivating recitation by Pete Simonelli. If the album contains occasional moments of brightness (the short "Defrost_Oven" with wordless vocalizing by Lisa Smith-Klossner), most of it is pretty dark, including the disc's two undisputed highlights: "Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness," featuring Oxbow's Eugene Robinson, and "While the Sun Burns Out Another Sun," with the post-beat poetry of Black Sifichi. Our Moon Is Full adopts the song format; however, it never becomes about catchy tunes. On the contrary, this moody album requires a few listens to sink in because, even though it presents a cohesive personality, its beauties are so numerous and subtle that they take time to unfold. A serious contender for year-end lists across the board. ~ Fran‡ois Couture
Uncut (p.108) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Many aspire to be so atmospheric: this ambitious work succeeds by sounding like a David Lynch film scored by a strung-out Morricone."
The Wire (p.55) - "OUR MOON IS FULL is seductively mysterious. It's both immediately attractive and defiantly oblique, packed with melodic hooks, deceptive shimmering surfaces, strange words and driving industrial-strength guitars."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.102) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "The album is a moody, broody collection loosely following a journey from darkness to light, from sin to redemption."