It doesn’t happen often that we hear an album we have a hard time categorizing, but that is what happened when listening to the debut album of Wilson Trouve aka Monochromie. The album’s artwork immediately immerses us into a world of dark horizons, unusual images and the strangest color formations. Trouve creates soundtracks to these almost surrealistic images, soundtracks that encompass a variety of emotions and sound experiments. The album’s musical style drifts from ambient electronic to melodic piano pieces, and from there to shoegazing static and distortion.
Monochromie seems to follow certain paths, at times more minimal, at others more cinematic, but he often deviates from each path, mixing different elements, producing a sound that is rough and abstract, tense and dreamlike at the same time. Being a visual artist perhaps has enabled Trouve to notice the subtleties in each sound and how they can be combined to accompany images and stories, or create their own. He also cites a number of post-rock bands (as we used to call them) such as Explosions in the Sky or Sigur Ros as influences, and since his sound doesn’t bear many similarities to that of the aforementioned artists, it is safe to say that what he drew from their music is the ability to paint emotional soundscapes in a way that is very personal. Monochromie does it in a more subtle, restrained manner, with the piano and strings, which are a big part of every track, producing a dark and chilly atmosphere, while the occasional beats in the background increase the tension. This becomes more apparent in “#1” and “Sniezny Krajobraz” with the latter bringing to mind “Radar Maker” from Mogwai’s debut album Young Team.
As we continue listening, Angels and Demons becomes hypnotic, yet has the familiarity of a story we used to be told as children. This could be why Trouve chose to close the album with “Gorace Zarzewie”, the only track with vocals (in Polish), which delivers images of an enchanted, pristine forest and has to be considered one of the album’s highlights, along with the ambient electronica of “Erosion.” What it does best however is point out what Monochromie excels at: making music that is full of hope and fear, vivid colors and darkness, feels like a dream, but has the mundanity of life. (John Kontos)