What do you get when you cross architectural training with studies in classical music and electroacoustics? NanoM+ / Untitled#ºº, an album that brings all three disciplines to the table. Florent Colautti‘s diverse background is clearly demonstrated on this hour-long, two track album, which uses each form to comment on the other. The construction is classical, the sound is particle drone, and the subject matter, at least for the first track, is “the suffocating atmosphere and clutter of interior design in the Victorian age”. We challenge anyone to find another album with the same concerns.
The difference between these pieces and other thick, computerized drones is a vast amount of internal movement. One might expect thirty minute tracks to simply ebb and flow, but the artist includes musical segments in the grit: pulses, sub-melodies, swings. At times the music descends into near-silence, only to topple into another section, like an orchestra yielding ground to the next movement. These may not be symphonies in the classic sense, but they work. “Untitled#ºº” presents the sound of E-bow strings chopped and processed; “NanoM+” offers sine waves, feedback and designed static.
As the album unfolds, it invites speculation; discerning this architecture is like searching for shapes in the clouds. Wires, buttons and knobs produce sonic facsimiles of clocks, drums and aircraft. An automobile seems to pass in the center of “NanoM+”, but its outline may be an impression in the fog. Yet not everything is impressionistic. Tempos are apparent, as are exciting surges in volume, further distinguishing Colautti’s work from that of others. When an electric guitar becomes prominent at the end of “NanoM+”, one wonders if Hendrix may have been an influence. “Untitled#ºº” begins with electronic precipitation, gaining mass like a thundercloud until it begins to shed its burden. By mid-piece, it’s all beeps and hisses, scoring a factory at dawn; the other machines soon warm up as well.
Call it industrial music with a heart, classical music in zeroes and ones, or simply sonic architecture; Colautti’s interdisciplinary training has inspired a truly original electronic album. (Richard Allen)