Carpark’s newest is a colorfully packaged culmination of sounds and song pieces that were assembled via the Internet by two electronic experimentalists: Greg Davis in Chicago and Sebastien Roux in Paris. Paquet Surprise, the first collaboration between Davis and Roux, is largely steeped in the duo’s theory of allowing for a little more of an ambient setting than organic song-structure arrangements.
The prominence of interspersed outdoor recordings on Paquet mirror what Davis, who’s regarded as a pioneer among the laptop-folk set, exhibited on last year’s entry on Autres Direction’s The Noise & The City compilation: His knack for highlighting sounds that go otherwise unnoticed. “I Am Waiting (For December)” features some airy acoustic-guitar picking and an understated vocal line, but at the center of the piece is the peak of what begins as subtle, static-centered rumbling and eventually gets amplified and cancels out the other elements entirely. When it dissipates, a coda of plinks and flutes brings the storm to a somewhat calm resolution.
The subsequent “Air Castle” borrows this subtle exit idea. With its gorgeous echoing chimes and sparse guitar it’s the record’s most compelling two-and-a-half minutes. Roux’s vocals often (sadly) take a back seat to the record’s atmospherics. But when they’re double-tracked and present, as in “Daybreak,” the lifting harmonies are as nearly as displacing as the emphasis on ambient treatment.Download ‘The Noise & The City’ compilation for free