Sound Impression: Fictions by Sérine

Franz Kirmann is a French electronic musician based in London who has been releasing music since 2006 both as a solo artist and with composer/multi-instrumentalist Tom Hodge as part of electronic/post-classical crossover project Piano Interrupted. Franz has recently added a new dimension to his work with a project dubbed Sérine which operates in the realm of microsound and involves scavenging fragments from old songs and recordings through granular synthesis that he layers and blends with field recordings extracted from everyday life – a walk in the park or a trip on the bus or to the supermarket. The first-fruits of his labors in this area is an album called Fictions which comprises a sextuplet of deeply introspective, melancholic vignettes.

One can understand why Franz gave this new creative branch its own name as its steadfastly contemplative nature lands squarely on a different end of the musical spectrum from the vibrant and kinetic sounds that characterize his other albums. The intertwining of the noise of the ordinary & familiar with strands of melody and filigreed layers of sound creates a pleasing sense of being caught between slumber and lucidity in a state of distant reverie.

Delicacy and restraint are the watchwords here and those qualities are present in abundance so that the spell of the music remains unbroken throughout. And if one desires a prompt for listening, look no further than the poignant passage cited in the liner notes from Nobel Prize winning author Patrick Modiano’s 1978 novel Rue des Boutiques obscures (full quote on the album page).

Elle s’éloigne. Elle a tourné le coin de la rue, et nos vies ne sont-elles pas aussi rapides à se dissiper dans le soir que ce chagrin d’enfant?

(She walks away. She turned the corner, and aren’t our lives as quick to dissipate in the evening as this child’s grief?)

Patrick Modiano – “Rue Des Boutiques Obscures” (Missing Person)

Fictions is now available digitally and on limited edition CD from the UK-based Courier micro-label. Aside from his solo work, Franz regularly collaborates with musicians, filmmakers and artists. His notable media credits include the TV drama McMafia (BBC) and indie documentary The Man Behind The Microphone (Claire De Lune Films) – both with Tom Hodge – and the 2021 BAFTA winning documentary Locked In: Breaking the silence for the Storyville series presented by the BBC.

Links: Bandcamp (CD/digital) | Franz Kirmann