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Album Review

The opening title track is one of the most un-ITN-like things in years, but given that Cobalt is the second Les Jumeaux album rather than an official ITN release, it's more than understandable to hear aggressive techno rather than lush strings at the start. The Humberstones here again explore the more specifically dance-oriented side of their work, with Dee de Rocha contributing vocals once more and flautist Henrik Linnemann appearing on one track, the low-key loper "Maline," but otherwise entirely the work of the two brothers. One of their rare vocal appearances occurs here as well, being a cover of "Strange" [not the Wire track, but an otherwise unknown number], but mostly as always the Humberstones let their music do the speaking for them. As on Feathercut, you can't really mistake the music for anyone else; enough hints of expected ITN touches - orchestrations, careful keyboard arrangements and so forth - appear throughout. But similarly to Feathercut, the feeling is of a wholly separate aesthetic sense instead of simply being an indulgence, treated with the same care expected from ITN's 'official' releases, but focusing more on trip-hop and ambient chillers than neoclassical drama. Interestingly, the CD also features a number of remixes from other artists of Les Jumeaux tracks, including Beaumont Hannant's slow, moody take on Cobalt's "Futur" and a version of Feathercut's "Cyflo" by Germany's Lunatic Eclipse which slyly slips in dialogue from An Ambush of Ghosts as sample material over the semi dub/hip-hop backing. Something of a mixed bag at points in the end, but Cobalt still has much to offer of its own merits nonetheless.

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Cobalt, Les Jumeaux
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