Christopher Bissonnette: Pitch, Paper & Foil (Kranky)

Canadian ambient texturalist returns with gorgeous fourth LP

Released Nov 6th, 2015 via Kranky / By Norman Miller
Christopher Bissonnette: Pitch, Paper & Foil (Kranky) Ambient maestro Christopher Bissonnette splits his time between his native Canada and Detroit, ploughing a beautiful furrow through aural explorations using analogue synth, field recordings, tape noise and anything else that takes his fancy. He's often called a “sound artist”, the sort of tag that arises when your background ranges across fine art and video work as well as music-making.

Bissonnette has released several albums via the wonderful Kranky label, with his last effort – 2014's Essays In Idleness – earning comparisons with the rural ambient side of Boards Of Canada. The comparisons range wider for this latest beauty, though, which benefits from an extra dash of edginess and variation via the use of random sequencing.

Yet this is always a master class in economy and control – always distinctly Bissonnette even as tracks nod to others: early Eno, ex-Tangerine Dreamers like Michael Hoenig, plus overlooked 'modern classical' composers like Christopher Hobbs. Keeping Guard hints at early Tangerine Dream with its interweaving synth layers, while there's also a fine sense of old-school spaciness to the slow synth patterns on The Rate Of Delay.

Several tracks are leavened with quirkily distinctive elements such as see-sawing electronic chirrups over stately synth shudders on the excellent Shuttering Slides, or the tinkling electronics of the closing Dualism. Diminution stands out too for its mix of beautiful hesitancy and naïve sounds, like a musical doodle done by a child genius.

Drone elements give a huge lift to tracks like Surcease and Textbooks Of The Elite, meanwhile, burnishing them after slightly too meandering intros. All in all, this is gorgeous music that grows with each listen – perfect to drown out any end-of-year stresses.