Naked Island is the name of the band-project and album – a collaboration between Felicia Atkinson (Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier) and Brian Pyle (Ensemble Economique). I wasn’t familiar with Atkinson’s work going into this but I do know Ensemble Economique. I couldn’t tell you where one person’s work here ends and another begins – it has the seamless, integrated feel and flow of Brian Eno and David Byrne’s My Life In The Bush of Ghosts – where you know, instantly, innately, inherently that both musicians brought plenty of themselves – and their own ideas – to the collaboration. It’s also not a bad place to start, in terms of a comparison, sound-wise, to the collage of spoken-word and found-sound extrapolations on offer here by Naked Island.
The album is two long pieces, Deep, Transcendent Waves of Golden Light and Play It As It Lays – both clock in over 17 minutes, a 35-minute album then. Deep, Transcendent slowly evolves out of French language spoken-word, hints of a trance vamp beneath, evoking – for me – so much time spent listening to Sasha and John Digweed’s Northern Exposure though the techno pulse is all but evaporated here, just the slightest hint of a post-trance/post-dubstep subtle nearly-groove materialises, it’s as if Jean Michel Jarre’s work has been remixed by Devonte Hynes.
Play It takes a different – entirely beatless – shape, borne of installation art more than any music as such, more Eno than Byrne perhaps. Actually more Fripp and Eno even…
Naked Island is a wonderful listen – a possible soundtrack for a type of meditation, a chance to defrag from the day.