- The title of Robert Yang's debut album is a bilingual pun. On one hand, it refers to parlour music, a sort of universal songbook meant to be performed at home for entertainment, before the advent of radio and records. In French, Parler Musique also means "to talk music," music being a language in which Yang is fluent. He takes cues from all sorts of '80s synth genres and turns them into glossy instrumentals. Parler Musique is the stuff of John Carpenter scores and blissful hi-NRG records, and you don't need to be a music nerd to get its appeal.
There's lots of variety to the album. "Organisation Maritime" recalls early Depeche Mode. The title track has shades of Tangerine Dream. On "Myéline," Yang presents a silky form of electro. As varied as his inspirations are, though, the album shows a single-minded approach. His last record for Dark Entries, Primes, found power in restraint, particularly with the 13-minute "Imperial Tranz-Am'." There's no such introspection on Parler Musique, where even the darker moments eventually give way to fireworks.
Most tracks have some kind of back-and-forth tension at their core. Take "Téléconférence." What begins as a jaunty, bass-driven number soon unspools into an over-the-top synth breakdown, before the bassline pulls it back down to earth. On "Un Subalterne Insubordonné," the rhythm feels anxious while the almost orchestral melodies soar triumphantly, adding nuanced shades to Yang's '80s-inspired sounds.
As well-executed as it is, Parler Musique doesn't take itself too seriously. (One track is named after "an oblong salad.") It could soundtrack a neon-lit car chase through Miami Beach as easily as a dance floor at 3 AM. Parler Musique's synthetic splendour would be easy to love in either setting.
01. Parler Musique
02. Organisation Maritime
03. Un Subalterne Insubordonné
06. L'Ordre Cannibale
08. Une Salade Oblongue