YVES MALONE – “The Unfortunate Occurrence of Memories Not Our Own Bleeding Through, and the Hole That Fills Them” (Jehu & Chinaman)

I don’t think we’ll ever know the origins of the mysterious synth artist Yves Malone, but whether his current output reminisces on a 1970s/1980s Carpenter-esque modular-synth heyday or not, it’s still pretty frickin amazing, with emphasis on the “frickin.” He might be some sixtysomething recluse, holed up in his unibomber shack surrounded by banks of synthesizers, or he may some young hotshot with a laptop and a bunch of German synth records. I can’t tell by simply listening. Maybe we should just ask him.

Malone’s newest tape, The Unfortunate Occurrence of Memories Not Our Own Bleeding Through, and the Hole That Fills Them on Jehu & Chinaman (say that five times … er, one time fast), finds him soundtracking yet another film, the short The Unfortunate Occurrence … you get it, filmed by visual artist Randy Pool and released in 2009. This ain’t no ECHO People, though, or Zenith City (or even Abysscoteque), where the tunes careen and threaten and impact and other action verbs. There aren’t any car chases or murderous rampages or zombie apocalypses – Unfortunate Occurrence follows a much more subdued path, and Yves follows suit with a more subdued soundtrack. This is a head trip, wherein protagonist (I assume) “Julien comes home to a tornado warning … [and] it becomes slowly apparent that the real threat may not lie in the growing winds outside, but in the minds of the couple [Julien and his wife] themselves…”

Even with a wild tornado brewing, Malone still reins in his more bombastic tendencies, and allows his music to eerily waft through the film (which I haven’t seen), setting a pensive mood right in line with the reality-blurring that happens onscreen. The tracks are at once gorgeous and unsettling, and promise danger and rescue at equal measure, as on the weird and terrifyingly titled “A Beamed Man Approaches” and the gorgeous “But the Wind Turned Against Us.” Malone ends the tape with the dirge-like lullaby “Before Releasing Us Under the Wave,” a title both promising freedom from confinement and death (by drowning) due to that release. Creepy, Twilight Zone-y stuff.

I can’t recommend Yves Malone’s work highly enough, and Unfortunate Occurrence continues his winning streak, although manifest in an unusual way. If you want to read more about some of his earlier releases, I’ve provided links to other reviews I’ve written below. Then go out and binge on his discography – you won’t be disappointed.

--Ryan Masteller