a day in bel bruit is a gorgeous surprise: an album that arrives without warning, from an artist we’ve never met, who nails it the first time out. a day in bel bruit has it all, from concept to cover to memorable music. Lilien Rosarian is so new they only have two tweets, but they may have composed one of the best albums of the year.
The concept is “spending a day alone in an abandoned village where a satellite dish has been haphazardly built upon the bell tower and radio sounds now replace those of the residents.” Split infinitive aside, this description ~ practically a poem ~ works as a full narrative. Now add Corey’s artwork, which is not only excellent in an aesthetic sense, but a perfect reflection of the plot: a blend of ancient and modern, a visual implication of sound through dish, wire and bell.
The music is a combination of “cassette loops, glitch processing and radio recordings” that might be emanating from the tower pictured on the cover, tricking ham operators into thinking that someone is still alive. The transmissions are instead the echoes of civilization, the gentle detritus of life, beamed into outer space. The visitor can’t have missed the villagers by that much. But the static charges also imply a different story: a call for help, a distress signal that issues long past the abandonment. A sonic line can be drawn to Jasper TX’s recently reissued Singing Stones, especially “They’ve Flown Away and Left Us Here,” which shares this album’s lonely, deserted tone; or the work of The Caretaker. And yet, neither of these comparisons is sufficient to describe the drama and density of a day in del bruit, a short story brought to life, an original vision built around a sample-based core.
“theme for empty village” introduces a strange form of sound collage, with distorted music boxes, fragmented radio waves and electronic stutter: a decontextualized morass of sound, like listening to multiple radio stations on the low end of the AM dial as stars burst in distant galaxies. “moss hugs all walls” is warm and welcoming, as is the telegraph of “the marketplace,” implying a peaceful village before something happened. The nostalgic tinge also begs deeper interpretations: that these villagers represent our society in a kinder, simpler time, or that art itself can serve as a time capsule, steering our impressions of history. As the timbres grow more occluded, one imagines the dish deteriorating, impassively broadcasting its final message. The closing words, looped and abraded: “promise you’ll be okay.” Perhaps the villagers are still alive somewhere, still caring for one another. Perhaps the people we once were are not lost, but waiting to be remembered. (Richard Allen)