Farewell Wise Man - Peace Lines (Album Review)

Sometimes, you have to start again. After playing in the post-punk band Sandcastle, the Toulon-based musician Thomas Ferrandes reinvisioned his musical language through Farewell Wise Man, an anything-goes instrumental musical project that touches on ambient, art rock, and industrial dance. His debut album, Peace Lines, is a transitory and succinct collection of instrumental sketches if not one steeped in a detached cool. 

While it does get rowdy in places, namely in the blisteringly excellent "They're Sneaky, They're Deceitful, They're Liars, They're Cheats, They're Rip-Offs", the NINesque controlled mayhem of "Seven Ghosts In One", and the cacophonous closing track "Narandj", this album is mostly a calm affair, with wandering ambient electronica that doesn't ask much of the audience. The mood is one marked by freedom of expression; much like when you break up with someone and regain a heightened sense of individuality, Ferrandes feels unencumbered by a band and his unrestrained approaching, stemming from his "automatic" process of creating the pieces, ensures a proclivity for the experimental. Tracks like "Quiet Riot" and the titular "Peace Lines" hardly even exist. Instead, they hang in the air for under two minutes, never touching the ground, yet moving things forward with unspoken visual cues. 

Elsewhere, "Mayolano" sees granular distortions fade into blissful reverberated piano notes. Much like how the repetitive epicness of Reich can induce hypnosis, Ferrandes doesn't mar his simple creations with length or musical depth, preferring instead to let them exist in a world where essence is paramount to form. Such is also true for the stirring ambient melodies of "75 Cleverton Street" and "Memory Shape". 

Peace Lines by Farewell Wise Man may not be the most ambitious record. It doesn't seek attention nor impressiveness, happy with the undefined subjectivity of loose artistic structures. But what it lacks in clarity, it makes up for in its industriousness. Like how a successful entrepreneur is unfathomed with being liked, steam-rolling towards whatever works, Farewell Wise Man benefits from the devil-may-care attitude that has arisen with the artist's newfound freedom.