Over the last seven or so years, Parisian electronic producer Raoul Sinier has developed a reputation for extremely complex and detailed production, his deployment of gentle, almost naive-sounding melodies underpinned by visceral, contorted rhythmic elements. While Sinier’s preceding 2009 album ‘Tremens Industry’ in many senses offered up his most densely detailed and unpredictable musical explorations yet, two years on this fifth album ‘Guilty Cloaks’ sees him shifting his musical style once again, to the point where many of the ten tracks here are focused around actual ‘songs’, with Sinier’s own vocals as the focus. Opening track ‘Overture 5’ nicely introduces this comparatively stripped-back approach, as a wandering bassline slowly gathers pace against skipping downbeat drums and a spectral whirl of icy ascending synth pads that carries a slight hint of Plaid’s use of minor keys.
‘She Is A Lord’ meanwhile sees Sinier’s own vaguely Thom Yorke-ish vocals merging with a fluid backdrop of Cure-esque janging guitars, crisp metronomic breakbeats and ominously glittering electronics, in a dancefloor-oriented highlight here that clearly illustrates that his shift towards more straightforward accessibility hasn’t resulted in any corresponding lessening of his darkly evocative atmospheres, a feat also accomplished on the gorgeous ‘Green Lights’, which sees Sinier’s delay-treated falsetto sliding against elegantly rolling piano keys and a contorted, constantly shifting backbone of clattering percussion. Elsewhere, ‘Too Late’ nicely encapsulates the creepy / beautiful aesthetic at play here as Sinier’s heavily vocoded harmonies blur into a frigid wonderland of glassy synth tones, pulsing house kickdrums and eerie minor key organ melodies. All up, ‘Guilty Cloaks’ is an impressive album from Sinier that sees him continuing to push his music in unpredictable directions, with satisfying results.