Philippe Hallais – An American Hero
“Philippe Hallais aka Low Jack returns to Modern Love with a debut album under his own name, this time round unfurling a deeply seductive and opaque mixture of squashed dream pop and ambient shimmers, sounding something like Badalamenti/Lynch doing Shoegaze except a lot more weird and beautiful…
It’s an album in the tradition of great records by Hype Williams, Leyland Kirby and, more recently, Yves Tumor; inhabiting a sonic world where not everything is quite what it seems. It offers familiarity and warmth one moment, dread and transformation the next, with an aesthetic that can basically be defined by that iconic image of the trophy cabinet in Twin Peaks, slowly zooming in on Laura Palmer’s framed face.
Divided into four sides (and eleven tracks) acting as parts in a greek tragedy, the album delves into the dislocations of the mythology of sports and its achievement in mass entertainment; whereby the hero becomes a dispensable and mimetic body. It delves into this unusual portrayal of triviality and disaster, naivety and cynicism that make the real life and ordeals of the hero indistinguishable from their scripted form on TV.
And so the narrative flows from the introspective ambient fizz of the opening Theme (Trophies) – sounding like the Cure’s All Cats are Grey as heard through the cracks, shrouded in several layers of auditory fog, through to the goosebump inducing Angela (Square), complete with punctuated snare/bassdrum crashes, to the Thriller-esque/Actress vibes on Fantasy (4U).
Feel (Storm) is like Jóhann Jóhannsson’s brass masterpiece Virðulegu Forsetar looped, phased and slowed down, before the album closes on the daytime tv vibes of Hero (Theme); a sound to get immersed in, mimicking life with its transition from the tragic to the sublime.
Life is short, seize the moment.” – Modern Love
Limited to 400 copies.