Look carefully and you will find that France has produced several excellent rock and pop bands over the years…think Stereolab, Air, Daft Punk and Gong, and now add to that list Monochromie.
Monochromie is the musical project of Frenchman, composer and pianist Wilson Trouve and probably unknown to most people in the UK, Behind Black Clouds is one of many sublime releases but the first on the increasingly excellent Fluttery Records.
Opening track Vertiges Part 1 starts with tinkling raindrop like effects from a picked acoustic guitar over synth backing, immediately taking the listener into a different place.
L’envolee is the first track to feature the trademark piano, creating a repeating note structure over a synthesized backing and with a hint of a choral finale. This is a truly stunning track I have had on repeat since getting the album.
Fade Away has a more spacial sound like the piano was recorded in a grand old concert hall, but again has the same dream like sense of meandering.
The beautifully titled Sigur Ros-like Heart Beat is the album highlight for me, all 10 minutes of it, with its rhythmic multi layered xylophone, synths, drum machines and numerous other effects. 10 minutes doesn’t seem long enough.
Slowburner Polyhymnia changes mood to a more electronic feel, with no piano in sight and The Lost Victory is a drum lead wall of sound.
Ethereal Lights and Vertiges Part 2 close the 13 track album with further electronic effects and textures
An instrumental album primarily based around the piano, the textures, effects and noises reveal themselves with each listen. It’s a record that seems to transcend and even rise above conventional genres and pigeonholes and patience rewards the casual listener.
This is a gorgeous album, and should be listened to late at night on good headphones, and specifically for fans of the aforementioned Sigur Ros, Nils Frahm and Peter Broderick.