Valeur d’usage Records has teamed up with FTOR for their third release
In recent years musicians and record labels have had to come up with interesting ways to package their products. Some have gone down the route of limited edition covers designed and created by the musicians themselves. Others have opted for heat sensitive covers. Some have gone down the route of releasing art prints with downloads, and this year Scottish post-rock group Outblinker decided to use broken watches in custom made boxes instead (this mirrors the art work perfectly). One French label, Valeur d’usage Records, has gone one step further.
For their third release, FTOR’s La T album, Valeur d’usage have packaged the four suite forty five minute CD by the experimental drone artist in a concrete container. Let’s just let that sink in for a minute. A concrete container. The dimensions of this container are unknown, but this what they had to say about it:
The T pattern is made of three main ratios: height and diameter (15/10), two different widths with spout or handle (22/21), handle and diameter of the central orifice (11/5,5). These three fractions define T-scale intervals. Combining them systematically yields fifteen positive fractions, including six fractions containing two of the six numbers from the three main relations, i.e. seven main intervals (between the root and the six fractions) and seven secondary intervals: a scale with fourteen intervals, i.e. fifteen degrees.
So reading between the lines, La T is a musical and mathematical interpretation of a teapot that was created last year by the artist FCK. The concrete packaging pays hommage to the inception of this project. The teapot was measured and these proportions were used to set both the pitch intervals as well as the musical events and durations of the four stuites. Given that the sole picture we have of it has nothing be base height or width, it’s unsure whether this is a small item or not. However judging by the picture, this is something that wouldn’t be out of place in your local garden centre or boutique designer.
The sad thing about this release, is that the most interesting thing about it is the packaging. Throughout the forty five minutes, La T never really does anything. Yes the music is pleasant and the tones are polite and cordial, but it never deviates from the opening note of each track. This is the perfect soundtrack for anything that you need to concentrate on. Essay writing/studying, working with headphones at the office, yoga, preparing and cooking a big meal, reading, self meditation and washing up. The music was originally commissioned for a soundtrack an installation from ceramist’s FCK.
But there is not enough variation and fluctuation of sound for me personally. If you were walking around the installation and this played it would enhance the experience, but without the art it kind of doesn’t work. A reason for this is there are no gentle valleys and subtle peaks of music/noise, it’s just constant. While I might be missing the point here of skilfully arranged complex nuances, it feels like a slightly missed trick not to change the inflection during each composition. Yes I understand that this is meant to be played as a whole, it’s about the completed journey instead of detours and shortcuts, but after a while it all blurs into one and you have no idea what track you are actually listening to. And edited vinyl release would work better as you’d have the surface noise of record making each listen a singular individual experience.
La T is available through Valeur d’usage Records now for instant digital downloads, but the physical copies will be shipped mid June.