For eight years, Brendon John Warner wrote, recorded & toured Australia with the progressive post-rock group We Lost the Sea before heading down a different musical path to pursue his growing interest in synthesis and lo-fi electronics. Beginning to pull at what he calls “a long lingering creative thread”, he dedicated himself to a “radical, contemporary musical view focused on contrasts, textures, dynamics, spatial relationships and instrumentation”. That choice and commitment have come to fruition in the form of his first full-length solo album entitled La Fonte (“The Melt”), a sprawling, kaleidoscopic electroacoustic exploration of the relationships between humanity and planet earth, ecology and economy, and climate change. Those are pretty ambitious themes to tackle in a first effort, not to mention one that clocks in at over a full hour of immersive instrumental music, but Warner says that stretching himself in this way had a significant impact on him creatively speaking.
“Both musically and thematically ‘la fonte’ challenged me to re-imagine the way I express myself through music. While storytelling through instrumental music in nothing new to me, using a broader concept of sound and composition to delve into more contemporary issues became the hallmark of what I was trying to achieve. From the use of found-sounds and sampling to blending synthesized drums with live percussion, and even a more open approach toward improvisation, this record, and the impossibly big themes it aims to explore, changed me as a musician and as an artist.” – Brendon John Warner
Indeed, how does one explore such themes in musical form without words or images? Warner does it by creating his own vividly imagined sonic geography and then superimposing a thoughtfully layered narrative upon it that resonates with compelling emotional subtext. “Edifier” is the absorbing opening chapter, unfolding with a delicate shimmer of ethereal piano that becomes enveloped in a tidal surge of melodramatic synths.
The 22-plus minute “Sentinelles” is the album’s majestic centerpiece and the track with perhaps the most transparent story arc as it begins with the rimy crackle of a gentle thaw that belies the growing sense of unease that swells underneath it like an inexorable ocean rise. It is hard to shake the sense of both awe and dread that remain as the waters quietly recede into the outro. “La Jeunesse Relative” offers respite in its glacial austerity while “États” and the closing title track are both shaded in darker hues even as they are propelled by added percussion and pulsing electronics to a kind of contemplative, palatial post-rock grandeur. An hour after the journey began, not a word has been spoken, but much has been said and there is much to ponder.
La Fonte is now available as a digital release direct from the artist. The album was produced by Sydney engineer Antonia Gauci and mastered by Rafael Anton Irisarri.