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Originally from Toulouse, France, Olivier Alary created Ensemble as his musical persona in 1998, as a platform to explore the meeting point between melodic noise and disjointed pop.

After dropping out from an architecture course at college, Olivier moved to London. Initially working under the name ‘Hearing Is Our Concern’, he was actually the first person the newly-founded FatCat label ever received a demo from, although nothing came of this at the time, as Olivier wanted to do further work on his tracks. The name was changed to Ensemble and a chance meeting with Rephlex Records in 2000 resulted in the release of his first album, ‘Sketch Proposals’.

While not widely released, ‘Sketch Proposals’ did gain a small, dedicated audience, not least of which included Bjork, who had the album on heavy rotation while working on her 2001 album ‘Vespertine’. We put Olivier in touch with her and in 2002, Ensemble’s remixes of Bjork’s ‘Sun In My Mouth’ and ‘Cocoon’ were released as b-sides. Their collaborative relationship eventually led to Olivier’s co-writing of the song ‘Desired Constellation’ on Bjork’s 2004 album ‘Medulla’, and still more remixes on the ‘Triumph of a Heart’ single.

Around this time, Olivier continued work on a follow-up to ‘Sketch Proposals’, aiming to collide symphonic walls-of-sound with intimate folk-pop vocal pieces. Recorded over a period of 3 years, and composed mainly in Montreal, where he now resides, Olivier traveled from Canada, to Atlanta, then to a countryside farm in French Dordogne, and finally to Berlin for his recordings, with each disparate environment absorbed into the moods of each track.


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