Laurent Girard from Angers, France has been making for years now, some of the most intense, emotionally charged toytronica we have ever heard. His music has been melodic, minimal (but not always), melodramatic, but most importantly unique, in the sense that each one of us is a unique being, and the music of Melodium comes directly from the heart. A heart that seems to be broken, not necessarily because of the lack of romantic love, but due to injustice, and the lack of meaning that troubles any thinking and feeling human being.
Girard in his latest album, The Island, experimented with distorted vocals, but in Kansva Work, lo-fi instrumentals make their return, which makes the artist’s intentions more ambiguous (it’s not easy to know what the music is about when there are no lyrics). That however works to his advantage as he has the opportunity to play more with tonality and rhythm, producing music that is less melodic, with more bleeps and blimps than usual, but with the occasional acoustic instruments producing a more organic feel and preventing him from entering space-out territory (at least not as often as he would otherwise). Melodium’s uneasy listening retains the fragility of his previous recordings, but is somewhat more cinematic, with a wider scope. If you are familiar with Melodium’s past work (and if you are not, I would highly recommend that you become), you would recognize that fragility not only in the more quiet guitar pieces, but even in the album’s more robotic moments. His music, acoustic, unconventional, and greatly influenced by both the innovative spirit of ’90s electronica and the resourcefulness of the lo-fi movement, still has all those elements even if they make their appearance in a more subtle manner this time.
This has been a gradual process for Girard as his work from album to album, with some notable exceptions, has become more quiet. One could say that youthful angst has been replaced with wisdom that comes with age, but that doesn’t seem to be true for this particular artist, as the angst is still here, the same way the wisdom had always been there. What seems to have happened instead is that he has begun to make music more for the sake of making music, rather than use it as a vehicle to express his inner self, in the sense that the goal is for the music to develop in ways that will trigger artistic discussion rather than emotion. Or I could be completely wrong, but that will be up to the listeners of this album to decide for themselves. (John Kontos)