While Antinote has fast been establishing itself as a label with a penchant for the finest in leftfield electronics with a gritty, non-conformist edge, let it never be said that they are a label of any fixed style. The evidence has been there in the past, and so it rears its head again with the second single from Syracuse. Antoine Kogut and Isabelle Maitre were spellbinding enough on their first single, which found 60s lounge tones meeting with psychedelia and just a touch of electro pop across three tracks. Now they return to the fold with an even more luxuriant approach crafted to melt hearts at every turn.
“Lovventura” is especially blissful, as tender strums of clean, unprocessed guitar perform a measured dance with Maitre’s dreamy coos, and it’s hard not to be reminded of Julee Cruise’s otherworldly tones on the Twin Peaks soundtrack. Admittedly the thread of darkness that inhabits Angelo Badalamenti’s work is not present here, instead replaced with a sweet romance that ensures no bad vibes slip into the fray. While these core elements twirl in an indefinite loop, the rest of the track’s considerable atmosphere is shaped out by lo-fi electronics applied with a delicate hand, whether it be seductive synth lines following behind the vocal or swirling vaporous noise that gently rises to lift the track off into the ether.
While the folky tones of the opening cut seem somewhat distanced from the first EP, “Latomia” shares a little more of that honey-coated pop pleasure, as a more involved arrangement of synths and other such instrumentation play out a breezy refrain that’s over as quickly as it begins. The charmingly simple drum machine mantra gets a little help in its rhythmic quest with a squidgy chord stab, but there’s plenty more to be laid on top from shrill Theremin warble to trickling glass-like arpeggios. Maitre is once again eschewing words in favour of wistful tones, and there’s space for a light touch of guitar and bass, but here all the parts play their role for a more balanced whole.
It’s fair to say that listeners switched on to Antinote by the scratchy tones of Albinos or the minimal abstraction of Iueke might be a little surprised by the slinky nature of this release from Syracuse, but then this is a label that prides itself on championing an unpretentious kind of underground, where nothing is off limits as long as it has class. There’s no doubt that Syracuse, with their overwhelming romance and charm have exactly the credentials to sit comfortably on the label. It might hurt that the sweet reverie of the music is over so swiftly, but then in parting is such sweet sorrow, and so the slender track lengths and the longing afterwards become as much a part of the swooning achievement as the music itself.