Fragments and Articulations

Christian Renou

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Fragments and Articulations Review

by François Couture

There was a doubt when Christian Renou decided to abandon his moniker Brume to go under his real name. Would he be able to reinvent himself enough to justify the change? The answer is a clear yes, and he didn't take long to prove it. Fragments and Articulations concretizes his transformation from dark ambient post-industrial figure to downright experimental soundsmith. The album presents three long works of sound art (between 19 and 25 minutes), each one developed out of a short sound source. The initial source becomes an excuse to unfold rich tapestries of articulated sounds and textures, like a magic hat trick. The first of these three "Fragments and Articulations" opens on a sample of ride cymbal. A low hum appearing in the back will have you check out the window to see if the neighbor isn't mowing his lawn (a disturbing thing to hear on a January evening). Drumming is kept in the hot seat throughout most of the piece, but you hardly notice it as layers of electronic textures are wrapped around the percussives. The second piece has more of a dark ambient/drone feel with reminiscences of early musique concrète. Very difficult to describe, it nevertheless captivates the listener. It has the power to engulf you whole, like being lost in a cybernetic whale. The third piece uses grittier sounds, occasionally verging on harsh noise with a finale recalling the early electronic experiments of Charlemagne Palestine or Jorge Antunes. This last track seems a bit overstretched, running out of ideas, but otherwise Fragments and Articulations is a very satisfying album, especially when listened to with headphones.

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