Jean-Baptiste Cognet : Pulses & Echoes Review
Jean-Baptiste Cognet is a member and founder of Act of Beauty, Memorial*, and Shining Victims. Cognet also collaborates as a composer and performer for plays and movies. A graduated from Lyon conservatory and Lyon “Lumière” university, the Lyon (France) based musician is known for his ambient soundscapes. He creates music that features ambient sensations, noise textures, musical synthesizers, and influences from pop to cold wave. He composes works for large ensembles (the fresco Nous qui avions perdu le monde for 10 musicians) to small bands (Act of Beauty solo, or Walter Dean trio). His music evolves through an unbridled and reverberated psychedelic language, which combines rage and romanticism. Cognet reveals a diverse sound painting with his new album Pulses & Echoes, the continuation of his Act of Beauty project.
“Night Way” builds a series of ostinatos into a tapestry of counterpoint that is active and beautiful. Cognet keeps each individual part clear while still layering dense layers that simultaneously stimulate and hypnotize. The mid-section has swirling synths and a drum part that is light-rock inspired. Orchestral in nature, Cognet’s composition is always on the move, switching themes and orchestrations. He can maintain a cohesive sound by his ability to meld each motif into the next.
“Daydreaming” uses noise textures to transport us to a mystical land. We arrive with a quarter note pulse ostinato that is augmented with layers of sounds and ambient swells. The name of the album can be heard in detail in “Daydreaming.” With the steady pulse of the repeated note, echoes of sounds come and go around them. Some textures are active rhythmically, and others are just instances of well-placed noises. All this works to create a satisfying aural stimulus.
Pulses & Echoes is five selections that build on music that layers to create a mesmerizing sound as a whole. More importantly, it also features five new compositions representing Cognet’s ability to orchestrate sounds and noise to create something special in the present tense. As a result, this gorgeous album successfully calms the mind while stimulating the ears.
Pulses & Echoes
April 25, 2020