Noah Franche-Nolan released two albums of ambient electronic music, Portraits from the Interior World I and II, in June 2023 via The Infidels label.
The output is remarkable for Noah, who is also releasing a new jazz piano trio album on Cellar in September. He is the first person, bandleader or side musician, to record for both The Infidels and Cellar. That trio album is called Within the Stream: here I suppose is him outside that stream.
On the first album, “Arid Landscape” featuring Dan Pitt on guitar has rumbling and rhythmic picking and an overdriven lead guitar melody over quiet, clean threads. There's a slam of distorted guitar and a hum down to a slow, chiming end. It's an engaging start to a thorough journey, almost an hour per album.
“Music to Dream To” featuring Oene van Geel is softer with horn-like pads and sparse violin, strings stripped of identity, just out of frame. The tumult comes back around to something peaceful, but the high-pitched noises are like faint screams.
“Transient Continuo” featuring Pitt again is much shorter than the other two tracks, a romantic synth piece with synth-like guitars
On to II, I'm unsure if they're meant to be played back-to-back. Both tracks on the second volume reference Icarus. “Icarus Rising” remains sparse for a long time and rather soothing – I guess we haven't flown too close to the sun yet. Things get less soothing around 15 minutes, pointed and rhythmically active: scattered, warped synths atop elongated versions of the high chord hits.
“Icarus’ Lament”, the stormy final track, doesn’t add much melodic material. Swells and blips move through the turbulence. Rather than evoking one emotion or theme, Noah's dual release runs the gamut of conflicting emotions within yourself, avoiding easy categorization of where and when you should listen to it. It's a prolific and original young talent at his most contemplative.
Portraits From The Interior World I: Transient Continuo; Arid Landscape; Music to Dream To. (52:21)
Portraits From The Interior World II: Icarus Rising; Icarus' Lament. (57:36)
Personnel: Noah Franche-Nolan on synths & audio processing; Dan Pitt on guitar; Oene van Geel on viola & percussion.