Vromb | Noize Mélodia
On his 10th solo record French Canadian electronic artist Vromb (aka Hugo Girard), delivers his sixth full-length with German imprint Ant-Zen. Here we have a dozen new compositions (compartmentalized to nine on the digital version), made with modular equipment, without presets or adjustments. The atmosphere is intense from the outset with a churning drone and incidental electrodes, and other sound effects. Réglages et radiations is a gentle wash of synths, the mystery of mechanization.
There are up to four variations of vélectrobass on Noize Mélodia, and first up is vélectrobass (origine) with its pulse width and sneak-up-on-you approach, it’s a 9+ minute thriller in the making. Next is vélectrobass (déclinaison – a) which comes from a sublimely quiet place. Humanless electronic bleeps are at the center here, as if computations are being made while the programmer goes about his business. It has this disembodied feel to it.
Next is one of the three double track sets, dialogues sur trame noize mélodia & le contrôle des vagues. The icy cool atmosphere grows more voluminous and bold in the first quarter of the thirteen and a half minute running time, with a languid layer underneath an abstracted beat structure. With cosmic flair and metallic blur this meanders into an inebriated space that’s quite psychedelic. There’s a gentle roar, a bit of a warning, behind the ambient visage. Moving into vélectrobass (déclinaison – b & c) the textures are scratchy, with a grumbly echo – the stage is set, we are taking off, I can hear a propeller-like beat that is quite intriguing. What sounds like jet fuel being expelled churns into tinkling electronics. Girard’s use of pitch, on/off again beat structure, and general reserved mood sets him apart from his peers, with a distinctive haunting sound that can be both dark and bright even within a singular work.
The next pairing is navire non réel & x-y zone, marécage artificiel. What sounds like a ship leaving shore, has two circular mechanism layers, and the soft pitter patter percussion. This rides like a slithering roller coaster, with a modernized industrial feel. When things get quiet after about seven minutes the beat slows and you are left with a foggy scene, a grey area swollen with invisible mystery. dépeçage par le son takes a step back, falls away into a bump-in-the-night isolated darkness. tempête solaire suivie de: écho d’une terre sans hommes (or solar storm followed by an echo of a land without men) continues the same feeling, however tics it up with a bellowing lit ceremonial setting. The pitch rides high like brilliant fireworks in slow-mo. It’s an extremely immersive work, especially when it eases off the grander effects for a more raw ambient space.
The title track brings this stellar record to its finale, the whole thing, three years in the making. Noize mélodia (thématique) starts off slow, with deliberate silences and then a quick patter percussion, growing airy volume and a near tribal feel. It’s outsider techno leanings with his stunted beats are alluring vis a vis the mad scientist at the helm protracted synths. In all the multi-layered piece plays like a wonky, lost in the sky journey, something’s gone awry, and he’s falling, going in for landing. Though I love the beginning of this record, this sounds more like an opener to me, perhaps if it were looped for playback, issue solved. For these old ears Noize Mélodia comes off less conceptual than his former work, and that may be to his benefit, new territory begets the worthy risk.