The waters of lo-fi hip-hop are deceptively shallow. A lot of people are willing to dip into it, because of the apparent simplicity that permeates the genre and, for better or worse, has become one of its defining traits. The problem is that a very significant portion of those “producers” take simplicity to mean sameness, hence the awful lot of generic tracks aimlessly floating in the lo-fi ocean.
This is why it’s always a breath of fresh air whenever you hear someone with an actual ear for music, and the necessary skill set to put it into good use.
In this case, such someone is Arnaud Bresson, also known as L'indécis. His latest release Ring The Bell is a testament to his abilities as a composer, performer and producer.
The project consists of 10 tracks that beautifully interweave with one another and constitute a 16-minute trip of high-quality, inventive and refined chillhop music.
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There is no sense in trying to break Ring The Bell down in a detailed track-by-track analysis. Not that the beats in the tape don’t deserve it. Actually, there is a lot that can be said for every single one of them. L’indecis made sure that each track is as polished and complete, as well as shining with its own unique vibrance, so that it makes up for a good composition in and out of the project’s context.
That being said, I think that Ring The Bell, like all compelling albums, is meant to be taken as a whole. And the smooth transitions from track to track (“Onehundred” to “Miles” being a particular favorite of mine) are not the only reason.
Moreover, L'indécis presents his blend of music with such an elegance that any track-by-track listening would be greatly missing out on the whole purpose of the project. And that is, submerging yourself in Arnaud’s universe, leaving your everyday worries by the door, even if it’s for less than twenty minutes.
In every single second of the record, Ring The Bell encapsulates the very essence of chill-hop. It soothes the mind and soul.
The album manages to come off as so calming and atmospheric that it makes it awfully easy for the listener to get carried away in the groove, not paying attention to all the musical tricks and treats spread across the tracks.
And there are a lot of them.
Arnaud is trained in classical guitar and the acquired sense for composition is present in every beat on Ring The Bell. By that, I don’t mean flamenco soloing or virtuoso shredding with the purpose of showing off.
Instead, the album is full of charmingly understated harmonies that don’t serve as the album’s centerpiece. They add up to the album’s feel in a distinctive, yet unobtrusive manner, never in a position to steal the spotlight of the track itself.
In Ring The Bell, the spotlight belongs to the project as a whole.
The cinematic ambience of “Thirtyseven”, the jazzy edges of “Satellite” and “Flip”, as well as the soulful, airy vocals in “Letgo” - everything in the Ring The Bell works most effectively when it comes together as one, beautiful work of art.
Last, but not least, Ring The Bell is available on vinyl. You can find it here. No other way to close this article except saying that if there is a chillhop album that is a must have for all vinyl lovers out there, it’s this one!