Released on Cosmo Rhythmatic (June 29), Ignis by Vainio & Vigroux is the first posthumous recording of collaborative work by Mika Vainio accompanied by Franck Vigroux. The title very loosely translates to “fire” in accordance to Etruscan origins. From the first track Brume this pairing stirs a dense cadence that is lush and mysterious. It’s intense ambient incited by moody harmonies and sparks. The EP is a follow-up to their striking 2015 collab, Peau froide, lèger soleil. This will be released in both Vinyl 12″ and in Digital (via Boomkat) formats with a stylish no-man’s land cover photo by Kurt D’Haeseleer.
Moving right into Ne te retourne pas the atmosphere is a bit of a helicopter getaway, a warning call to escape. The piece is far too short given its dense gorgeous structure, I’m left wanting more. And suddenly the triggered aggression breaks loose on Luxure with wartime jackhammer percussion and a phaser drone. I’m sure the title is a wry comment on its content and context, especially given all that is bent on Earth. The unexpected is fully employed on Un peu après le soleil, which starts out as a bit of a cascading noise symphony only to suddenly shift into teeny static microsounds paired with camouflaged vocoded voices.
Strangely operative, it’s the in-between that matters here, the unease growing from silence. This magnificent track is the record’s centerpiece, and as such becomes a bit of a launchpad into the unknown. It comes off as a translator for alien voices. That is, until Luceat lux conquers and divides with a severe harsh drone right from the top. It buzzes with ferocity and then modulates with static rhythm. And then, silence, again. It’s like a rocketship blasting off, then it’s post flight sequence where gravity does the work. The cool drone, like a semi-permeable fog, lifts to allow for layers of hiss and synth chords.
I had the real pleasure to experience Vainio play live as part of his most notable project Pan Sonic (circa 1996/1997) and the tendency to mix and match the harsh and the minimal always drove the sound. Here, there is a decades refined sound, and sadly we lost the prolific man in his prime. Though this is a testament that with the edgy sound of Vigroux and with other collaborators, the sound became elusively flexible and strident. On the concluding Feux the blend of low bass percussion and uncontrollable alarms are met with a savage drawing in lines of electronics and slicing effects. It’s an apt ending that hisses with glow into its stunted ending.