Only 30 minutes in length, Angelo Spencer's all-instrumental effort Et les Hauts Sommets floats happily between surf, afro-pop and noise rock. Spencer's MySpace declares, it "sounds like a soundtrack." Sure enough, the album's pulsing character pieces define an exotic tone that could have great cinematic effect.
If this well-defined tone is limiting, it also illustrates how limitation can foster creativity. "Now!" starts off Les Hauts by tossing the listener headfirst into the eclectic mix of reverb-drenched guitar, metronomic percussion, weird sound effects and effectively understated reed solos.
The rest of the album never strays too far from this collection of sounds, but it does a good job swinging, sometimes unexpectedly, between the accessibility of songs like the tuneful, upbeat "Estonia" and the experimental ambience of "Did You Hear the Sound of..." There are more explosive moments, too: namely the energetic and ever-building "Shivers" and "The Desert - The Strongest."
With its well-crafted, charmingly zany sound, Les Hauts Sommets rewards multiple listens, which the album's length easily affords.
KUPS 90.1 FM Local Music Director