An original member of the Honey Soundsystem crew, Bézier is a project by Taiwanese-American musician Robert Yang who, over the years, has built an impressive analog synth-based studio, a base for his riveting live performances. Working under the name Robot Hustle in 2003 and Honey Soundsystem from 2007, the Bézier project debuted in 2012 with a cassette followed shortly after by a vinyl release on Dark Entries in 2013. Returning to the label in 2015, Bézier has also worked with HNYTRX and teamed up with Fort Romeau for a collaborative EP on Romeau’s Cin Cin label. Now the multi-instrumentalist returns to Dark Entries with his debut album ‘Parler Musique’, ‘an album that considers space, thought patterns, daily routine, habits and process’, Yang explains. Pulling from the ‘dredges of the mind moments related to memory and inspired, soaring imagination’, the tracks on ‘Parler Musique’ relate to a body part or group of bodies. Delving into the process and meaning behind each track, Bézier provides Untitled an annotated tracklist of ‘Parler Musique’.
Represents the mouth
Title translates to ‘talk about music’. But to talk about music, there should also be something in the background- an accompaniment. The title is a pun on Parlor Music. There are elements I wanted to convey about music production and history in this track. The intro comprises of soaring, airy melodies, like a discussion among Greek gods. The introduction of the drums is, however, something more sinister. This quote we’ve been passing around by Adorno reflects this: “Is the drum the successor of human sacrifice or does it still sound the command to kill?”
The main arpeggio hook is generated by the Arturia Microbrute. With overlapping arpeggios, a layer of dissonance is created to personify chatter and noisy discussions. Yet, the arpeggios also reference harpsichords and the music direction Ostinato and sounds like ‘Danse Mécanique’. This is a twist on counterpoint and thus relates to neoclassical and baroque themes. Also, speaking in time with music can be described by the musical direction ‘parlando’. Here, melodies of different frequencies are having a casual conversation- with accompanying disagreements.
Represents the brain
This title translates to Sea Organization, or simply Sea Org (a branch of the scientology cult). Themes for this track relates to water and aqua archetypes. The self becomes seduced, engulfed and then absorbed by the environment and plunged into the depths by a sea creature with many tentacles. But the underlying allegory in this track and title, is that the mind is swarmed and probed until it submits to another force. Society, as one example, is a cult practicing pseudo-psychology, pseudo-logic and using technological bondage to achieve mind control. Gear-wise, the synth personifies ocean waves, tides and monolithic nature. Arpeggios sound like internal, under the hood, technological processes humming out inside radars, oscilloscopes, transistors. Drums sound like they’re trying to mold creating a habitual process reengineering the psyche.
Un Subalterne Insubordonné
Represents the eye, the ability to observe
An insubordinate subordinate. The track’s hook is a melody that powers up and deflates periodically. It represents the protagonist and antagonist. Whenever authority or the patriarchy enforces power over an individual, that person reacts either submissively or aggressively. The energy of the tempo represents a time pressure for an individual to perform their duties.
Represents the ear
Conference call, or concall. I wanted to call the track Télécon, because in the US we call a conference call a con call. But that didn’t fly with my French speaking pals so this is the title we went with. I used to work in an office dealing with various personalities and work ethics. What always brought us together in harmony were meetings, concalls, all-hands meetings. These events were always available for people to support each other, make each other feel valued. I wanted to capture this feeling in a track. Impending daily processes open the track with chorused high hats. A heavy, plodding but optimistic bassline tells us everything today will be ok. Melodies coalesce like casual water cooler conversations, on the fly collaborations around the office. A cacophony of chords and hooks denote a meeting is underway. Everyone walks out of the meeting feeling solid as each team player tries to remember what the key takeaways were.
Represents the embryo, the internal body experience
I was playing around with the Oberheim Matrix 6R, the rack version of the Matrix 6. Programming it is such a tedious task. But by playing around with patches and controllers, particularly the FM Modulation and Tracking Generator features, I was able to create a distinct interesting sound for the main hook that made me think of James Marcel Stinson’s Transllusion project especially the L.I.F.E. record on Rephlex and the track ‘Code Blue’. So, I got inspired and came up with a piece to represent internal biological processes through my experimentation with the Matrix.
Represents the heart
The cannibal order. This is of course the most ambitious track of the album. The title is taken from a book where I read a passage about a specific Christian cult where the members compete for bodily fluids during religious sanctioned orgies. Danse macabe is the underlying theme of the track. When the frenzied dance fails to ward off illness, the track descends into a warped, disorienting scenario. Time cuts in half, bodies plunge into the ground and a procession is underway. The whole track takes on various musical motifs through copulating genres like a ragga/jungle bassline with quirky italo arpeggios, new romantic melodies along with dubbed out kicks and percussion, and all around a razor sharp industrial vibe with a thin layer of noise. When you can get every tone, wave and frequency to harmonize (add a little dissonance) it’s a perfect combination once the song is run through a centrifuge.
Translates to intermission with the body part as being a group of bodies
The scenery I wanted to depict here was a social mingling like at a Dadaist cabaret or an Art Deco arcade. It’s a gathering to decompress or to contain time from the main attraction/viewing. It is in some way resistance to the monotony of the narrative. Also since this track comes after L’Ordre cannibale, it can be seen as a respite from the main storyline. When the track started to form I was reminded of Chris and Cosey’s Exotika and so I went in a direction. You can also look at this as a homage.
Une Salade Oblongue
Represents the nose, or senses – an out of body experience
An Oblong Salad. The galaxy represents an oblong salad and it is beyond the mortal world and technology. It represents time immemorial and life’s mysteries. The track is a space opera, and there are motifs in the composition to support this. Objects are heard tumbling through space, there are moments where the environment seems to wobble listlessly, particles and widgets move past each other while stars pull everything closer. I don’t know if having this song as the last track is supposed to be a summation about this collection of music. But it definitely feels right to close the album out with this song.
Buy ‘Parler Musique’ by Bézier via Dark Entries here