Cylene II documents the second materialization of the collaboration of the Paris-based duo of French sound artist and producer François J Bonnet and American guitarist-producer Stephen O’Malley (of Sun O))) fame and the founder of the labels Southern Lord and Ideologic Organ), following Cylene (Editions Mego, 2019). Bonnet and O’Malley began working together in 2018 when they were commissioned by the ATONAL festival at Kraftwerk in Berlin. and describe the new album as a «presentation of tones and resonances where harmonic intersections elevate from the deep and scale up to the far firmament in careful motion, drawing emotions viscerally from the chest, giving rise to the suggestibility of the soul».
Cylene II was captured in different occasions and contexts – artist residencies in La Becque, Switzerland and Modena, Italy, live performance excerpts, and a studio session at INA-GRM Studios in Paris, and offers a multifaceted sound signature developed during this sonic journey. Bonnet and O’Malley have developed powerful dynamics and throughout Cylene II they propel the restless energy and extend the singular atmosphere that has characterized their dynamics.
The epic opening piece, «Four Rays (Anti Divide)», introduces the minimalist and mysterious, serene and unsettling at the same time, drone ambiance of Cylene II, as Bonnet and O’Malley evoke the calm before or after the inevitable storm. On this piece, Bonnet and O’Malley, for the first time, were accompanied by other musicians, an unnamed wind quintet that sends the duo’s sonic palette into deeper and darker regions, without betraying the fundamental energy of the duo. The following pieces highlight how the threatening, resonant sounds of Bonnet and O’Malley methodically become glacial harmonic intersections, flirting with raw noise and suggesting massive, metallic physicality that reaches orchestral proportions. Bonnet and O’Malley call this listening experience a séance of sorts for all who witness it, for them, the musicians, and us, the curious and fearless listeners.
François J Bonnet (electronics), Stephen O’Malley (electric guitar, effects)