Franklin: Every Now and Then

The sleeve of Franklin’s debut ‘Every Now and Then’ – the image you see above of a clam-like modernist dwelling, both a complement and a challenge to its location in an LA canyon/desert landscape – is a beautiful illustration of the music within, which is something like Crosby, Stills and Nash produced by Boards of Canada. Montpellierain Franck Rabeyrolles, who usually trades under the name Double U, has merged billowy acid ‘n’ sun-fried West Coast song craft with analogue keyboard sounds, dubby effects and crisp electronic percussion. At times, it’s effectively an amalgam of three kinds of psychedelia, each from a different era (acid rock, dub reggae and techno) and while there are sonic sympathies between these different strands of Franklin’s sound, this ahistorical layering also engenders feelings of dislocation, of lost bearings. His process over the 13 songs here is like an aural equivalent of creating ‘ghost’ photographs through the double exposure of a frame on a camera film, or the superimposition of images in a darkroom (processes that have been relegated to the past by the advent of digital photography) to create composite events that never were, and never could have been.
Of course, we’ve been living with music as post-modern pick ‘n’ mix for some time now, but what’s so effective about ‘Every Now and Then’ is that this disconnection from historical and social anchors is apparently at the heart of Rabeyrolles’ project, the medium and the message. The title of the single “Lost House”, and of the album, for that matter, is in itself a good indicator of where Franklin’s concerns lie – rootlessness, the unreliability of memory, the scrambling of signals from the past. ‘No Direction Home’ would be a good alternative name for it.
David McKenna