"The squalling violin, adorning samples and oscillating bass spliced into percussive perspective, makes an immediate facade: walking upon avant-garde theatre practise where scattered orchestra members jerk missives to gods of emptiness, blissfully (un)aware of the writhing slugs of black cocooned actors onstage. ‘Nine Barn’s instantly strikes unwonted scenes of uneasy commingling.
‘Nine Barns’ is the final work from the French duo of Stéphane and Florence, the latter’s violin work and vocal treatments feature more in this release than other fin de siècle albums. Organic sound is what is trumpeted in the press release and fin de siècle’s finale to their oeuvre strikes that mark squarely. The skitter of the Florence’s violin squeals and cries dissonance and minor harmonies as she saws tremolo, her flourishes subtle and enigmatic, nosing back and forth in the echoic chamber of ‘Nine Barns’. Samples, vocals and percussion are employed with as much minimalism as the organic stringed instruments for the most of this album, though many tracks stand apart from the experimentalism with unique countenance; the biting anti-fascist ranting poem of “Daddy” over fuming noise and chimes, the first usages of percussion in “The Feast”, “Stranger” – backbeat opposed to freeform jazz gel song with symmetry.
Such Spartan cinematic sound lends ‘Nine Barns’ an independently filmed movie soundtrack feel, a tailor made uneasiness best suited to the anxious and the awkward of Lynch, Quay Bros. or Jodorowsky. Ambient drones and warmed noise pool and seep, electronic oscillation flickers like mosquitoes above the surface, wind lulling ripples of strings and pianoforte into delicate patterns. It’s a very gentle release with no loud effusions, but sits uncomfortably in its miasma of spare shapes and lineations.
This final chapter of fin de siècle comes in a 12” vinyl package limited to three hundred copies."