Jean-Emmanuel Krieger, the man who calls himself Baikonour, was born in Versailles, France, the same city in which Air and Phoenix were formed. He currently lives in Brighton, U.K., cites German legends Neu! and Amon Düül as influences, and claims his biggest source of inspiration comes from Nepal, where he has worked to raise money for Tibetan refugees. Even before pressing play on his second album Your Ear Knows Future, Baikonour lays out a vast, global net under which musical possibilities are potentially endless.
Your Ear Knows Future is not, however, the impossible international mashup that it may initially appear to be. Rather, Krieger’s specialty lies in crafting diverse yet accessible sonic adventures, combining Krautrock, electronic and ’70s art rock sounds into something with a vintage feel, yet sounds thoroughly modern. Joining him on his Moog-laden quest is Fujiya and Miyagi drummer Lee Adams, who provides solid and funky back beats to Krieger’s trippy soundscapes.
“Shikharettes & Khukuris” starts off the album with a groove that could actually fit in alongside Fujiya & Miyagi’s electro pop anthems. Its instrumental progression pops and flexes with spare guitar riffs ringing gently over dense synth waves and a funky bassline. Meanwhile, “Chiru” is more spacious and ambient. Its opening keyboard sound twinkles and glimmers, while the track ultimately stretches out into a heady sonic excursion. “Fly Tiger” initially comes off as spectral and amelodic, but from the ether is born a space age rock ballad that retains a ghostly glow but with a heavier rhythm and thicker fuzz.
More gorgeousness emerges on “Double Happiness Wholesale,” which is awash in fluid sheets of guitar and eerie synth backgrounds, like one of M83’s more atmospheric tracks, while “Ye Ama Piooo!” juxtaposes a steady pop of analog synths with mid-`80s Cure-like guitars. While Your Ear Knows Future certainly melds the sounds of various international genres, even more so, it seems to combine different eras—modern electro, `80s new wave, `70s prog and Krautrock. While it may seem like a lot of different elements to toss into one package, as a whole it’s a cohesive and compelling work of art, and often absolutely gorgeous.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.