(originally published on the Star News entertainment blog)
By Brian Tucker
The experimental duo end things on a high note. Bête Tête, the art exploration music project of Brian and T.R. Lang, has released its last (and self-titled) album. In addition, they have uploaded as a digital release (all via Bandcamp) their first album jì mò de coinciding with its tenth anniversary.
That, according to the group’s Facebook page, may be the last word on their music as the album Bête Tête is a collection of music and songs between 2009 and 2012 that were written for live performances and intended to be an album that never came to fruition.
T.R. and Brian now live on different coasts, pursuing school, work and family, respectively. But what remains is music that will continually engage, puzzle, spark imagery, and conjure emotion down the line with each listen.
The first Bête Tête album in 2006 was all T.R.’s work but their Bai Yan release grew out of Brian’s time in China teaching English. The lengthy album was recorded on a computer there and is drenched in the culture’s influence – be it Chinese traditional or modern pop music, field recordings, conversations, as well as an array of American music. The album would ultimately take years to complete because a computer hard drive malfunctioned.
The duo performed around town in following years and worked on other projects. Brian created Stranger Dance in 2013 and released an album of lush electronic instrumental music (its great) and is looking at releasing a new album this year.
The recent release is elegant, evocative ambiance. It’s a fine and fond farewell to the duo’s creative impulses, illustrating them exploring while refining their style. Always evolving, its seventeen tracks marry melody and synth sounds with atypical instrumentation collecting looped beats and vibrant sounds with spare vocals and dancy vibes (see “fingers,” “I close my eyes at work” and “breezeland”).