SUSPENSE (1975) & COSMOS 2043 (1977)

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SUSPENSE (1975) & COSMOS 2043 (1977)

Cosmos 2043 and Suspense are both, essentially, soundtracks for albums that were never made. Library albums are always interesting things to listen to, in that the music is truly divested from any sort of imagery – for the most part, at least. In the case of Cosmos 2043, there's a golden robot who more than a little resembles C-3PO, along with a Barbarella-like woman in a tiny one-piece.

The pieces on Cosmos 2043 are all rather mellow. Opening track Space Team is rather energetic, but it and album closer Odyssee are the exceptions. The likes of Satellite 33 burble along, with even a rhumba beat sneaking in here and there. Stars Away works that rhumba again, with a helicopter flutter working overhead. Of all the pieces, it's Stars Away which most immediately reminds me of something – the melodic lines which distortedly come in give this a feeling of nothing so much as Vangelis' work on Blade Runner, with Ronde Intersellaire a spacious, opening sounding piece.

Each cut seems to have a different aspect of the synthesizer Fevre wanted to experiment with, meaning that each piece has a distinct sound, even if all the cuts are united by a similar pace. Moon Heart is weird and spacy, working in both an energetic pace, but keeping the quiet, mellow tones. Earth Message, even without its history of sampling, would easily be the standout. Its flowing tones, interspersed with the various emphatic nods, makes this a hodgepodge of everything which has preceded it on the album, but also a consolidation and refinement of the work which has come before. It's all rounded edges and smooth parts.

On the other hand, 1975's Suspense is all sharpness. Everything is pointed and tense. It makes sense for an album titled thusly, as the whole thing plays out like a detective film from the era. You can feel the energy of On the Channel, which ably conveys the feeling of a boat chase.

Skeeze is delightfully sleazy. You can feel the grime of a down-at-the-heels bar start to seep into your pores as it sinuously winds its way along, getting a little woozy and faded toward the end. Magnetic Spool, on the other hand, is positively taut with energy, astonishingly alert. Both tracks see Fevre using the electronic clavinet, but despite similar instrumentation, it's fascinating to see how the composer can make one piece down and the other up.

Mister Green is funky as anything, and might as well be named “bad guy's theme,” as its bouncy funk groove, overlaid with menacing pseudo-guitar, says,” this is one bad dude … but ain't he COOL?”

A cut like Too Much Water does a good job of maintaining the tension of the rest of the tracks, but does have a bit too much of a sci-fi/horror feel to really fit in. It seems as if Fevre was going for a love theme, here, but the progression around which the piece is based ends up making it sound like something out of John Carpenter, rather than John Boorman.

Due to its pacing, Suspense certainly breezes along much more quickly than Cosmos 2043, and you're left wondering where the time went when it's all said and done. These two albums are definitely made to be listened to together – enjoyable as they are separately, as a duo they're just fantastic. The only downside to these two records being released as a package (along with Fevre's 1978 Black Devil Disco Club album) is that the liner notes for the releases are all the same. We were kind of hoping that each release would have notes that focused a little more tightly on the specifics of recording it, but one can't expect Fevre to have remastered these from the original tapes himself, as well as composing massive histories of each LP as well.

The packaging is top-notch. If you get the early versions, they come on a gold, slightly-marbled vinyl, along with two stickers, a numbered card with liner notes, and a digital download. The vinyl's super heavy-duty, and comes in a poly-lined sleeve. The releases are super-limited to 250 copies each, and we highly recommend you grab them right now.

INFO: SUSPENSE (1975) & COSMOS 2043 (1977) / COMPOSER: BERNARD FEVRE / LABEL: PRIVATE RECORDS / RELEASE DATE: MAY 25TH

 


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