28 February 2009


Formed in France in 1997, Transbeauce draws influences from a wide variety of music – from classical to post-punk. Not static, the band has grown to incorporate more traditional instruments, but yet the soothing, soulful arrangements have never taken a second seat. It is impossible to define their music with any throwaway label like electronic. This is a band that one must consider on their merits and not that of a genre or scene. With a new album out, “Stories on the Radio,” it is only appropriate we take the time to catch up with Transbeauce.

“Die Mitte” (2001)

The opening of the album may lead you to believe you are about to listen to an industrial album, with echoing voices and an angry ambient sound in the background, the music quickly melts into a slow paced beat. Quickly, the album demonstrates what many great post-punk artists knew – simplicity in repetition is powerful. There is no attempt to lull the listener away with grandiose arrangements or bombast clichés that only grow old and trite with time. Instead, Transbeauce truly created timeless music here, which is rare in the world of electronic artists. They do not concentrate on catchy, electro sounds or other trappings of electronic music. Rather, they concentrate on the richness of their songwriting and arrangements. Furthermore, Transbeauce has this talent to take sounds, any sound, and find its harmonic, melodic qualities. For instance, the third song, “Okand,” treats listeners to funk influenced bass line with sheer noise creating most of the melody. The album does have more “acoustic” sounding songs, such as “Speciell,” but regardless of the kind of sounds or equipment used to generate the music, what will stand out is the careful attention to details and the conscious crafting of a soundscape that is rich but not drowning to the senses.

Track Listing:

1. Anfang
2. Hemilg
3. Okand
4. Commencer
5. Xd7
6. Trakig
7. Baver
8. Part 1 and 2
9. Utc
10. Speciell
11. V1
12. 9th
13. Forlat

“Holyhead” (2006)

Incorporating more acoustic elements than their debut, “Holyhead” continues Transbeauce’s journey through the world of sound. With moments reminiscent of the early British goth scene (such as the "Juju" album), there is definitely a greater emotional intensity on this album, even in the slowest of songs. The band demonstrates the power of simplicity in “Kakilaki’ Smile”; a song that takes nearly three minutes to develop percussions, the unraveling layered arrangements builds to a cathartic experience of that pit in the stomach feeling. “Bevy” threatens to breakout into a gloomy, rock mantra, but the emotions are kept tightly compressed, which gives life to an emotional depth rarely experienced in electronic music. The closing track, “Tokyo Light,” is a slow brooding song, which has given into its own lethargy. Instead of building into more luscious arrangements, the song fades into memory – much as lights do eventually. Like their debut album, the conscious crafting of songs that are not clichés or odes to the electronic genre is evident as the ingenious arrangements haunts you.

Track Listing:

1. Dmumb
2. Echo of a Nightmare
3. I Couldn’t
4. Slowmotion
5. Kakilaki ‘Smile
6. Moai
7. A Secret Lullaby
8. Bevy
9. Portmeiron
10. No Guts
11. The Night
12. Rover
13. Tokyo Light

“Stories on the Radio”

Released earlier this year, 17 February 2009, with a double colored vinyl release expected in March, “Stories on the Radio” will burst the poet out of anyone listening – it is inspirational and infectious. Personally, I have not been able to stop listening to it, coming back again and again. According to the band, the album was inspired by their work and interactions with Bernard Lenoir (the French John Peel), the Black Sessions (just look at the titles of the tracks), and the studio atmosphere.

Many of the songs are of epic proportion (songs range from four-and-a-half minutes to ten-and-a-quarter, in total seventy-four). Opening with “The Stars Are Black,” which share the same kind of sonic power as the Cure’s “Carnage Visor,” you are swept into a world of weighed down emotions and continuous soundscapes, yet you are filled with serenity by the end. “The Sky Went Black” inches Transbeauce closer to the world of pop; with arrangements and hooks similar to a plethora of songs of the late 80s and early 90s, but this song is not imitation. Instead the pop hooks are used in a new, refreshing way; it is not about ambient sounds to hook the listeners to tap their feet and bounce around, but rather to continue to draw you into the journey of sound. Then there is the song “A Black Heaven”; it has that subtle of power of undertow: it whisks you away without warning in the complete opposite direction. Like other Transbeauce songs, there is this feeling that the song will breakout emotionally, but its containment is what generates the emotional power. The closing track, “Running Away,” is one of those songs that just start with a sound and keeps developing to the very end. The shortest song of the album, by the end the serenity of the melody that you have been listening to is almost drowned out by an industrial wave of noise. It creates that proverbial tension between mind and soul, and it is this exact tension that makes this a great album – Transbeauce’s ability to make you feel and reflect, while enjoying the experience, is a rare trait in music these days. And on that fact alone, this is a must have album for any collection.

Track Listing:

1. The Stars Are Black
2. Black as Stone
3. Dressed in Black Berlin
4. Little Black Panda
5. Her Hair is Black
6. Pearl Black Eyes
7. Deep Black Water
8. The Sky Went Black
9. Black Heaven
10. Flojt
11. Running Away

[You can find these album on Amazon and iTunes.]

Please keep up with the band at their homepage or MySpace.