Arcade Fire is a band renowned for free range explorations and the side projects of its members. ‘Limn’ comes as an example of such a creative diversion from the band’s drummer Jeremy Gara.
Produced and recorded by Gara himself, ‘Limn’ is a 10-track expedition into the outer reaches of his ambient psyche. Not so much a story, this solo debut is an exhibition of impressions, a series of lonely postcards from outer space. No words, only instrumental electronic sounds limned by the abstraction of Gara’s enigmatic red-black-and-white artwork. Only verbal clues are offered from the titles of the tracks - ‘Divinity’, ‘The Gate’, ‘Judgement Dialogue’ - and it can all feel a little troubled and subtly disconcerting.
Permeated by a disquieting empty darkness, this is music to be listened to on your own in the cold stillness of the night. While not necessarily fun, it does have a hypnotic haunting quality that gets under your skin. The soothing electronic flow of opener ‘Divinity’ comes punctuated by the morse code bleeps that sound like a satellite transmission, while the dominant menace of ‘Chicago’’s sonic hieroglyphs have a terrifying dystopian quality, and eternal recurrence of ‘The Gate’’s looping opens into a bleak soulless spacescape. ‘Tangles” transient ethereal beauty ends suddenly, giving way for the deadly absolute zero freeze of ‘Violence’. It all feels like a flight in suspended animation, passing through galaxies with millions of suns beaming energy into a vast, desolate and ultimately indifferent eternity.
Would this record receive much attention had it not been for the name on the sleeve? Probably not. A private experimental enterprise, it’s unlikely to gain new fans outside of the circle of Arcade Fire faithfuls. Nevertheless, it’s a convincing undertaking providing an interesting insight into Gara’s creative threads.