There’s a lived-in quality to the sound of Racine’s Amitiés. Named after the French word for friendship, the Montréal-based Quebecois artist follows an extended time spent indoors to contemplate what it means to be isolated and in one’s own body, while also staying connected. The album is a follow-up of sorts to Quelque chose tombe (“Something Falls”), released in February 2020 and a kind of accidental prophecy for the crisis that was to come. Amitiés disintegrates before your very eyes. Opening with a roughshod iPhone recording of Racine playing his parent’s harmonium, the creaky acoustics of "Mon amour je ne guéris jamais" slowly degrade into digital simulations of dreadful organic beauty. That track and the rest of the LP gives the feeling of an abandoned building; a sense of frayed, earthiness dusted with the wisdom of time. And yet, it’s almost entirely made from simulations. Clipped Native Instruments violin patches punctuate the churning atmospherics of “Arête coincée dans une amygdale”. The lonely gongs and bells of “Grosso” resonate in a gust of synthesised ambient. Vocal plugins and the very occasional YouTube samples of a recorded voice are sped-up, glitched, pitched and scrambled into indecipherability. These vocal apparitions rise and fall into the sonic ether like individual ghosts of human contact. They’re bold and expressive, deeply melancholy and yet full of the potential for joy and an awareness of life’s beauty. It’s in this dearth of social interaction—the heady psychosis of too much solitude—that Amitiés’s tone and mood lies. A score for the numb dissociation from internal chaos and alienation, the album’s sense of acute distress is assuaged only by the small network of collaborators and influences it draws from. Long-time friend and peer Justin Leduc-Frenette (aka Keru Not Ever) contributes drum programming to “Mon amour je ne guéris jamais”. A last-minute reworking of the untitled “Sans titre” by German duo Arigto matches the weight and timbre of Racine’s sooty post-classical soundscapes. Ultimately, Amitiés is a very human response to an inhuman environment. It’s an intimate homage to friends and the mysterious effects of distance, while somehow finding healing in hardship.