Tip! *300 copies limited edition. Much needed repress!* Akusmi is the new project moniker of French-born, London based composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer Pascal Bideau, who signs to the new Tonal Union imprint for the release of his album ‘Fleeting Future.’ With its hallucinatory, genre-defying blend of minimalism, cosmic jazz and Fourth World influences, and in its quest for optimism in the face of unknown and limitless possibility. ‘Fleeting Future’ stands apart as an inventive and inspirational debut.
The creation of the album’s richly colourful and multi-layered sound world was originally inspired by Bideau’s journey to Indonesia, where he immersed himself in traditional Gamelan and gong music. Many of the themes, motifs and melodies on ‘Fleeting Future’ seed from the ‘Slendro’ scale, one of the essential tuning systems used in Gamelan. However it is not musical scales, but scales as in the size or extent of things that most fascinates Bideau, specifically he explains; “the compelling way things dramatically change when you shift from any given scale to another.” The album connects directly to nature and the wider world in its evocation of perceptive shifts and transitions from microscopic to macro scale, as evidenced by the opening title track ‘Fleeting Future’, on which a simple dotted saxophone line morphs and billows into synths, brass and strings, indicating the musical voyage that lies ahead. Like the start of a journey or adventure it is full of anticipation, its arborescent growth conveying the optimism of the unknown and of limitless possibility. The album centrepiece ‘Neo Tokyo’ is a vibrating, ebullient mass of colliding elements which feels like zooming in to the electron level, as it teeters on the edge of chaos. The title is a reference to Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira, a dizzying work of art set in a sprawling futuristic metropolis.
‘Yurikamome’, meanwhile, is an imaginary soundtrack inspired by Bideau’s yearning to visit Japan which he fuels by watching Youtube videos of drives and rides through Japanese landscapes and cities. “It’s amazing” he adds, “that we have the ability to access almost anywhere in the world and see what it’s like, that people document it and upload it. It’s never going to be any replacement for the real thing, but with places that really touch you, it works.” The track is named after a Japanese monorail train line which rides from Shinbashi to Toyosu, a last journey that feels like a new beginning.
‘Fleeting Future’ was composed and recorded by Bideau between 2017 and 2019 in his North London studio and features additional contributions recorded in Berlin by Florian Juncker (trombone), Ruth Velten (saxophone) and regular collaborator Daniel Brandt of Brandt Brauer Frick (drums / electronic percussion). Having been living through uncertain times, one thing that keeps spiralling into the unknown is the future, about which Bideau leaves us with a final thought: “The future is fascinating: It is constantly readjusting to new events. I feel we left a linear approach to the future to enter an arborescent one where all the data and information we have about what could happen is exponentially ever-growing. Following a branch might allow you to glimpse into what it may become, but the evolution of the whole picture might very well render the prediction totally obsolete, and even meaningless. In that sense, there is not one future but innumerable ones all cancelling each other. That’s what makes it fleeting.”