Muhr: Dream Dictionary
Les Enregistrements Variables

Issued under the Muhr alias on Les Enregistrements Variables, Dream Dictionary is the latest work from Montreal-based Vincent Fugère (also the founder of Les Enregistrements Variables). One could very easily imagine the album appearing on Hibernate or Home Normal, so attuned is Muhr's material to the burgeoning ambient-classical-electronic genre associated with such labels. In meditations both becalmed (“The Flood”) and brooding (“The Shadows”), conventional sounds, guitar and piano primarily, merge with electronic treatments in eleven concise settings that lean towards the melancholy end of the spectrum. A sense of foreboding shadows “The Fox Witch,” until, at least, tinkling pianos add light to the gloom-laden murmur of distorted chords, while “The Numbers” is memorable for weaving orchestral elements into an evocation that's as mysterious as it is ethereal. To his credit, Fugère focuses on feeling in these pieces and generally eschews cluttering the tracks with gratuitous sounds. He's quite content, for example, to dress “The Woman” in simple piano chords and treated guitar shadings, and the front-line army lurching heavily through “The Attack” is made up of little more than a distorted guitar line.

A pronounced film soundtrack dimension also permeates Dream Dictionary in its track titles, all of which follow a similar descriptive pattern—“The Fox,” “The Attack,” and “The Woman,” for example. While they're not so transparently titled that a clear-cut narrative is laid out, the titles do at least hint at a possible story-line for those inclined to seek one out. Others might be content to simply let the sounds wash over them for thirty-seven minutes. It's a modest statement overall—Fugère clearly isn't out to re-write the rule-book with the release—but a nonetheless effective one that rewards one's time and attention.

January 2012