Franz Kirmann returns to Bytes for his fifth album ‘First Broadcast’


French producer Franz Kirmann returns to R$N's tape-orientated label Bytes for his fifth album, First Broadcast.

Following last year's acclaimed LP, Madrapour, First Broadcast is a collection of hypnotic, psychedelic live jams recorded in a state of confusion and paranoia in London during the early stages of the Coronavirus quarantine. In contrast to Madrapour, a warm analog instrumental record inspired by the 1970s French novel of the same name by Robert Merle where a plane never reaches its destination, Kirmann's new album brings rougher, wilder and more primal sounds to the table.

Recorded in a week from the confines of his Battersea studio, the record imagines a possible follow up to Merle’s novel, where the plane eventually lands and this is the first transmission we receive. Kirmann imagines the place as a wild, virescent, tropical land (think Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness), where the disorientated passengers encounter a primitive tribe and experiment with hallucinogenic plants. 

Opening with the calm and textured Mangrove (Evening), the album quickly evolves towards something more beat orientated, minimalist and repetitive. Slow and tribal, the live jams recorded here (mostly on modular synthesisers) oscillate between futurist African music (Masques), pagan rave (Expo), acid (Dancer) or early-1980s post punk electronic music (Mannequin), concluding with the sun rising over the jungle in Mangrove (Morning). 

Speaking about the album, Kirmann explains: “I disconnected from my environment. I set up a music system that I could completely improvise with. I had to remove the analytical part of my brain and just play, play, play. Everything is one take straight to stereo. A couple of edits here and there, but that’s it. I couldn’t touch up the structure, the mix, anything… it was so liberating!

First Broadcast is available now on Bandcamp and all other digital/streaming platforms from tomorrow.