Monochromie – Behind Black Clouds (Fluttery Records)

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Working under the moniker of Monochromie, Wilson Trouvé has been hard at it. Behind Black Clouds marks the Frenchman’s fifth release -and third long player – since his 2012 debut, Angels and Demons.

Trouvé sites Eno, Sigur Ros and Godspeed! You Black Emperor as informants to his piano based works which manifest ambient, noise, electro and post-rock leanings. Monochromie doesn’t approach the post-apocalyptic intensity of G!YBE – and really, who does? – although a shared love of cyclic chord progressions is evident. Trouvé’s concurrent career as a visual artist, which dates back to the early 2000s, also influences Monochromie’s musical output. His use of repetitive and blurred geometric textures in sculpture and painting is just as present in audio form.

Monochromie’s timbral pallete is anything but monochromatic. The opening track, “Vertiges Part 1”, is a corker and sets the tone for Behind Black Clouds as beautifully dense layers of noise and drones adorn a variety of tuned percussion and keyboard instruments spiralling ever skyward. “Fade Away” and “Distance“ are driven by processed pianos and that are respectively distorted and echoed, not unlike the UK’s Wolfhall. Trouvé’s Icelandic bent is exercised in the waltz of “Polymphia” and the joyfully mess of “Ethereal Lights”. Despite the gear shifts, Monochromie retains the compositional voice honed over a pair each of previous LPs and EPs.

Behind Black Clouds is a long album of 13 tracks, and has a couple of pacing issues. Tracks like “Hawks (Happiness Version)” are crying out to be extended beyond its three and a half minutes of almost epic-ness, whilst “Heart Beat” – although pretty – is way too polite to warrant continuous restatement over ten minutes. Likewise, “L’envolée” veers dangerously close to easy listening with its sad/happy modulations and pop ballad pads. Whilst two ‘nice’ tracks are hardly a deal breaker for an otherwise great album, Monochromie shines best when keeping it gritty (as in the gloriously deconstructed “Noise”) and dense (like the polyrhythmic electro-churn of “Vertiges Part 2”).

It’s one thing to produce a lot of work over three or so years, but another altogether to present such consistently strong material with each new Monochromie release.

Behind Black Clouds is released by Fluttery Records.

https://monochromie-music.bandcamp.com/

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Matt Wakeling’s first LP was Kiss ‘Double Platinum’. He is the host of ‘Guitar Speak’, an interview based podcast launching in mid 2016.