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GNAC | Biscuit Barrel Fashion (Poptones)
Opening with a quasi-classical piano line, the first track on Biscuit Barrel Fashion quickly finds a tone that's part playful muzak and part Anglo-French drama signiture tune. It's a suggestion that remains for the rest of the album's 15 instrumentals - with eliptical titles like Uncomfortable Modes of Transport or Voltaire's Inference - with the overall effect being something like the mood of an extended Bergerac credit sequence, not quite evocative enough to be comfortably called cinematic. Written, played and recorded by the evidently sickeningly talented part-time Montgolfier Bother, Mark Tranmer (who, it says here, has recorded music for the BBC and Channel Four) GNAC seems to be the product of some kind of Gallic fascination. Flirting with techno, slotting in jaunty acoustic guitar and piano pieces, the album has a texture that's rich and a tone that's dream-like. Deriving from an Italo Calvino story called Moon and GNAC about the dreaming and scheming hero Marcovaldo, Tranmer seems to be pointing to some correlative to the tunes with his project's title. Either way, it has an evocative moodiness that's perhaps better tasted in smaller bites- the duration of a moodily puffed Gitane perhaps, or an ostentatiously sipped cafe cappucino - as, taken over its full length it risks adopting the emptiness of an extended soundtrack without the melancholy murder mystery to which it belongs.

Marton Williams
June-July 2001