[1 September 2006]
The electronic recording project Ensemble is, ironically, helmed by just one man, Olivier Alary. If you possess an encyclopedic memory of liner notes, you’ll recall seeing his name in the credits for Björk’s amazing album, Medúlla, for which he programmed the floating-in-black matter beauty of “Desired Constellation”. That song’s slowly spreading style is implemented here on the Disown, Delete EP, Ensemble’s first work in five years (with a new full-length to follow in September). The title track was co-written by one Chan Marshall, who is credited as such for her vocal contributions (and not as Cat Power). With Alary’s lightly strummed acoustic guitar seesawing beneath his quietly majestic, synthetic, impressionistic orchestrations, “Disown, Delete” is the perfect fusion of what one would expect from each of its contributors. “Carmine” and “Their Lines”, neither of which will appear on the new album, both feature vocals from relative unknown Tamar Amir, who has a sweet and breathy tone. The former track features vibrato-ing semi-surf guitar; the latter is a pretty duet with Alary, accompanied by gentle piano lines. The EP concludes with Tim Heckler’s very spacey and instrumental remix of the title track. Considering only one of these very good songs was considered worthy of inclusion on the forthcoming self-titled LP, that release will be something to look forward to. In the meantime, Disown, Delete stands on its own as a very fine EP of ambient electronic pop music.