Melodium – Palimpse (Symbolic Interaction)


Self-described as “pop folk electronica” industrious French artist Laurent Girard makes home-recorded compositions as Melodium. His first release for the Japanese label Symbolic Interaction (and released elsewhere internationally), Palimpse was recorded back in late 2006 and early 2007 but has only now emerged. Girard, who is in his 30s and doesn’ play live, has provided music for several TV ads and generally does something similar to the Books: sleepy samples and effects mingle with straightforward acoustic and electric guitar and somewhat twee keyboard melodies. There’ nothing glitch-y about it, and true to Girard’ description, there is a pop core to many of the pieces here.

Bird sounds brush through “In The Forest At Night’, fittingly enough, and strings and sampled voices drift past the anchoring keyboard of “German Voice’. “Landscapes’ stands out, thanks to some of the most tangible guitar lines on the album, pairing with twinkles of glockenspiel. Washes of Flying Saucer Attack-style distortion enter, followed by more of the cryptic vocal samples Girard favours. He’ certainly keen to experiment, as proven by the 28-minute closing track “Insomnia’. It packs in an album’ worth of ambition and a wide swath of instrumentation. Not simply due to its length, the track has quite a different feel from the rest; more assured and structured, more about space and introducing one motif at a time than mingling them from the start.

Deceptively simple at first listen, Melodium in time proves nuanced and sophisticated. Girard’ talent lies in his organic approach to layering sounds, tapping into the fuzzy magic of distance and closeness, obscurity and clarity.

Doug Wallen


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