Molécule‘s 60°43′ Nord is the techno record that won’t die, and for good reason. First released in 2015, the album was recorded on a fishing boat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and contains its rolling qualities as well as a healthy serving of field recordings. While listening, one grows attuned to the waves, as well as aware of the depths: the seeming infinity of blue.
The Mille Feuilles label believes in this album highly, as became evident on its initial release. A beautiful 336-page hardback book came with the CD, and included copious recording notes along with an array of gorgeous seascape photography. The album was also issued on a lovely slab of sea blue vinyl. This year, the entire project sees a re-release, each version more elaborate than its prior incarnation. The book is now a Raincoat edition, numbered and signed (co-published with CLASSIC and Bleu de Paname); the CD now contains a live bonus disc; the vinyl is now available in double-splatter editions; and a bonus-track vinyl EP, 981mb, contains an amazing ocean print. I’ve got three of these (book, double disc, EP) and can vouch for the fact that they are worth picking up if one likes the music, and in this case, even if one doesn’t. Yes, the presentation is that good. Yet let me not lead you astray: techno fans who have somehow managed to miss this one simply need to listen below.
The go-to tracks are “Hébrides” and “Rockall”: the top two tracks on Soundcloud, and the ones to receive the remix treatment on the EP. The first exudes a sinister vibe suitable for nights on the black sea. The second is a propulsive monster that rises from the abyss and engulfs the horizon. It would be easy to concentrate on the beats and synth, but in context these tracks mean even more. “Rockall” in particular extends the whipping winds and fearsome phantoms found in “Metarea”, highlighting the howling storm and the vulnerability of the vessel. Those approaching from the field recording angle are directed to new EP track “Climat”, which is music-free and provides an impression similar to that which Molécule must have experienced. The other new piece (spoken word preamble excluded) is the tender “Nocturne”, which opens a new porthole into the project: the peace of drifting in the open ocean.
Buy the book, display the vinyl, wear the t-shirt (not kidding!). Mille Feuilles recognizes the unique nature of this project, and we do too. Whether sailing the surface or dreaming of the depths, 60°43′ Nord is a celebration of the cerulean sea. (Richard Allen)