Featured in passing several weeks ago, on an extended Sunday outing through Soundcloud, was a track by a half-anonymous sound artist in Ottawa who calls himself Beaucrat, a moniker which refers to his regular employment as some kind of bureaucrat and, by abbreviating the term, suggests the distance there is between the profession and his own preferred activity, while nonetheless holding open the possibility that the two might not be entirely unrelated, for all that, with the dissociation then representing simply another facet of an underlying connection. Accordingly, in this case it would be tempting to explore the influence exerted by bureaucracy, which encroaches more and more on everything today in our world, or corrodes it all from the inside, on present-day music specifically, an influence both direct and by way of the reaction against, the flight to islands of refuge from that insidious rule by Nobody. Since, however, there’s no time nor place right now to touch on matters of this sort, off to one side I shall set them silently, behind a provisional barrier or un mur sonique – to spin a variation upon the title of that previously-featured track.
The music itself is ferrous and replete with the sound of synthesizers, though simultaneously it conveys the minor comfort of listening to something which one may already have heard and known; what Beaucrat brings to bear while also updating and speeding it up a bit, is a musical idiom drawn from the darker synth-pop of the 1980s: and as for the vocals, both his own alone and his duets with the singer Margo Gontar (who, though living in Kiev, works frequently with musicians in other countries, evidently by means of the Internet), the names which spring to mind are Jim Morrison, Nico, Siouxsie – all voices conspicuously deep in timbre, with some rough edges, and well-travelled through the lower reaches of frustration, doubt, and pain.
It was not for nothing that he covered New Order’s “Blue Monday” recently, and this strong rendition may be found on his Soundcloud page.
Three of his own recent songs in which this musical profile is shown with especial sharpness, are “Close Your Eyes,” “Pull to Black,” and “Falling Awake.”
Thus far he has I believe collaborated twice with Gontar, and the results leave one hoping for more.
Here is what they call the “darkest” of the three different versions they offer of “All We Are Strangers.”
And their initial collaboration, under the title “There Is No Pain (That Doesn’t Hurt),” is an ode which one is not likely to forget.