Song of the day: SCANNER – Passage de Recherche (1999)

Robin Rimbaud aka Scanner is one of those artists who has a confusing discography with a whole host of full length albums, mini albums, eps, CDRs, live recordings etc etc appearing on a bewildering number of labels, sometimes in very limited editions. The Lauwarm Instrumentals was the second release on the short-lived Beggars Banquet experimental offshoot Sulphur (known as Sulfur in the US). It’s one of my favourite Scanner discs – six tracks of varied instrumental electronica. It’s probably one of Rimbaud’s most accessible collections too. The phone scanner samples are less prominent than on some of his earlier works, and are more chopped up. “Ground Veil” uses samples of automated elevator voices and London Underground announcements to produce something oddly unsettling and inhuman. “Lithia Water” is cinematic drum and bass and “Sonnenlicht” wouldn’t sound out of place on a Bola CD.

Pick of the litter for me, though, is “Passage de Recherche”. The tune is based around a simple, looped, vaguely orchestral swell that resembles a steady inhalation and exhalation of breath. It fades in after around a minute of fairly abstract noise, and provides the backbone of the track whilst various short conversation samples and abstract noises drift in and out. Its relentless repetition is both calming and disturbing – the scraps of monologue/dialogue registering like half remembered dreams and repressed memories. It plays for seven and a half minutes, but has an odd way of sometimes seeming extremely long and others frustratingly brief depending on how it catches you. The Lauwarm Instrumentals is a good place to get into Scanner if you’re not too familiar with his music. There’s a hell of a  lot of other stuff out there to explore if you get hooked.


One response to “Song of the day: SCANNER – Passage de Recherche (1999)

  1. Really well described. For me, “Passage de Recherche” reminds, that even in our darkest dreams we can find some consolation. Also worth mention – this song was used in one of David Firth video series called “Spoilsbury Toast Boy”. All of his videos are in the mood of this track. Really worth checking out.
    Great review! Wish You best!

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