L’Eixample is the third annual CD album released by San Franciscan native Tim Arndt under the nom de guerre Near The Parenthesis. His métier is a muted electronica with live guitar, piano, dreamy synth washes and subtle samples. There’s nothing particularly Gallic about it, despite the title, so I’ll refrain from the French phraseology from here.
Some music leaps out, crying for attention like a hyperactive child. The fiftyfive minutes of L’Eixample creep past stealthily as if averse to being noticed. Even after five or six plays, there’s little that stuck in the mind when the final piano chords of “Departing Gate” echoed into the ether. Yet after just one spin, the whole already seemed comfortingly familiar. This isn’t to say that the album is devoid of ambition or personality, but it does tend towards a kind of easy-listening electronica that soothes rather than excites.
The most obvious parallels would be with the Genovese band Port-Royal or Ulrich Schnauss’s more restrained moments. Boundaries aren’t broken and envelopes aren’t pushed, but this is emotional and melodic music full of melancholy and bliss. It could do with more edge, more contrast between light and shade, but it’s surprisingly seductive nevertheless.
1 Modernisme (7:22)
2 Cerda’s Plan (5:54)
3 A Brief Walk In The Sea (7:05)
4 Guell (5:50)
5 Smdm (5:12)
6 The Second Nave (7:29)
7 Empty Square (4:23)
8 Paral.lel (4:34)
9 Departing Gate (5:16)
This review also appears on the [SIC] Magazine website.