Morr Music, 2016
Review by Kent Manthie
This month (May, ’16) sees the release of the debut LP by Slow Steve, the new incarnation of former Fenster member, Remi Latournelle, who started Slow Steve, basically, another in a series of musical prodigies, Remi is a multi-instrumentalist, who plays everything himself. As for his live gigs, he added a second member, Charley Vecten, who is a welcome addition, especially when you take your act to the stage. Adventures is a steamy, synth-keyboard-laden, lush pop groove set. Its 11 songs are an adventure in sonic superstructuralism. Of course, merely calling something “pop” is, often, not enough. With Adventures as an example, just saying that this is an album of “great, danceable pop” isn’t saying that much. There are many, many variegated musics which can have that written or said about them. So, there is something more. In Slow Steve’s case, there’s a great, mellow but vibrant groove running throughout the album. One of the earlier songs, “Sloth” is a good example of this and at the very end, say, the last chord or two, were very reminiscent of King Crimson, more specifically, the King Crimson which re-grouped after Fripp broke up the band before Red even came out, back in 1977. This is the one which got back together: Fripp and Bruford, representing the UK and Adrian Belew and Tony Levin representing the US, although that was probably the furthest thing from their minds! Well, on from there: songs like “Bali” and the three “Josephine” cuts (“Josephine I”, “Josephine II” and “Josephine III”) have a little touch of the brilliance of Japan and/or David Sylvian’s solo stuff. The rest all has a really unique style about it. Even the ones which have a touch of that Japan sound, they don’t come off like they’re trying to sound like them – or anyone else, for that matter. While there are hints, here and there, of what their influences could be, overall, they have their own sound, altogether. It’s all quite mellow, nothing edgy nor is there any sardonic darkness or guile.
I really like the cover. The cover art is this interesting, colorful, psychedelic painting of what appears (to me, anyway) to be an underseascape with all sorts of multi-colored coral, some other plant life and some strange, weirdly shaped marine life. The artwork goes together well, with the album, since that picture represents a kind of metaphor of the music and its meanings, contained inside the cover.
As for songs to watch out for, from Adventures? I’d say, “Veterans”, “Sloth” “Bali”, “The Giant Spider Crab From Japan”, and definitely “Oscillation”, which is a real thrill. As for the last couple songs, they’re great just where they are. They’re the right tunes for which to take the album out.
One site you can go to, if you are interested in reading more about Slow Steve, Fenster and the other things that are on sale, just check out https://www.heartlandmusic.com/adventures/880918814629. If bubbly, atmospheric sonic adventures are your thing, then you’ll surely want to check out Slow Steve. -KM.