Linear Bells are certainly not a music act from Southern California but, instead, are based somewhere in France. They/He/She/Whoever functions under the enigmatic and trend grabbing pseudonym from which they create some serviceable ambient music that evoke specific places and experiences. Their latest effort, released a little over a month ago, is a slow driving five track EP entitled Los Angeles, which interprets the city by way of various unnamed roads they have made soundtracks for.
The songs are a mix of using proper instruments–piano, guitar, etc.–combined with “sound manipulations” and other droning electronic sounds that bring a calm sophistication to their releases. “Los Angeles is irregularly shaped and covers a total area of 502.7 square miles (1,302 km2), comprising 468.7 square miles (1,214 km2) of land and 34.0 square miles (88 km2) of water,” the band clinically describes, serving as the only explanation for the album. The songs–with titles like “ROAD_START” and “ROAD_N3″–are basically soundtracks for driving, evoking different feelings and pinpointing very specific moods associated with certain drives in town. A song like “ROAD_START” gives that feeling of being on a foggy drive through the hills in Malibu heading to the ocean, a drive that is simultaneously frightening as it is exciting. “ROAD_N4″ feels like that moment coming South on the 101 or when you’re at the super tall merge from the 105 East to the 110 North, where you overlook the entire city: the track captures the twinkling lights of cars, buildings, planes, and everything else abuzz in Los Angeles.
Of course, this is just speculation and all the roads that served as inspiration could be blocks Downtown or in Simi Valley. Regardless, Linear Bells’ observation of Los Angeles through their ambient sounds is a great exploration of something so Los Angeles shared in such a thoughtful, conceptual fashion it has to be recognized. Catch the tracks below and you can download them (for free!) on their Bandcamp page.