CD-R, Afe Records, 2009
Fhievel is the project of one Luca Bergo of Italy. “Pipe Smoking on a Balloon” is a re-release on Afe Records limited to a hundred copies in a very nice looking cardboard sleeve. It is divided into five parts, although each one flows together so well it could be one track. I certainly wouldn’t recommend skipping any track or you won’t get the proper ‘feel’ from the album.
Each part ranges from the four minute range to just over eleven minutes with tracks containing a variety of electronic drones, warm crackling noise and many other subtle electronic noises. I may be incorrect but I’m assuming computers rather (than hardware) were used in the creation of this album due to some of the similarities with other artists I’ve heard. However, in spite of this, the entire disc has a very ‘organic’ feel and there is nothing sterile about it. Across almost thirty eight minute duration Fhievel’s “Pipe Smoking on a Balloon”album maintains a sense of calm and never strays into harshness or anything that doesn’t make you feel like you’re floating along with the clouds (perhaps in a balloon with a pipe in hand?). That’s not to say it grows boring either though.
Although I’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite track, I’d have to say that the first part is my favorite, with its gentle shifting electronics and subtle use of noise perfectly encapsulating what the rest of the album is about. “Pipe Smoking on a Balloon” managed to keep my attention throughout its duration and made a very fine companion on a rare good-weathered Wyoming winter day.
— Charlie Martineau