Genre/Influences: EBM, minimal-electronics, experimental.
Background/Info: Laurent Boudic aka Növö is back on track unleashing his second full length on Alfa Matrix while having released a few more albums before. Laurent Boudic is one of those musicians passionate by the magic of analogue equipment, which clearly reveals this typical 80s-like sound spirit.
Content: “The Shortwaves” features 11 songs, which are more sound creations accomplished by the magic of analogue gear. Some passages and sounds will clearly evoke the early Front 242 period from “Geography”, but globally speaking, this new opus sounds more experimental.
“The Shortwaves” is a complex piece of work revealing total minimalism in the writing and pure experimentalism in sound research. The musician transposed himself into a sound scientist active in a laboratory of noises. Boudic gives you the impression of catching noises he next manipulates by turning on the knobs of his machines to get a unique sound. It creates this typical analogue sound creation, which for this new work become more experimental and less danceable.
“The Shortwaves” however reveals a few cool and fully danceable cuts. There also is a constant darkness hanging over the work, which together with some sequences are also reminding me of early The Klinik.
A last and essential element consists of the vocals. Not all of the songs feature vocals, but here again they have been adapted into pure experimentalism. It sounds fragmented and often like a sampling. Spoken samplings have been used as well and here again Laurent Boudic uses the same tricks. The samplings are quite fragmented as well and often mixed in the background creating reinforcing the dark and somewhat spooky element of the work.
+ + + : “The Shortwaves” is a complex, but well-crafted and intelligent piece of music. The minimalism reveals irresistible analogue sound creation and you can hear the maturity of this composer who perfectly knows and controls his gear. I like some of the most aggressive sequences, the typical dry and deep bass lines and the global icy atmosphere hanging over this work. The most danceable tracks however remain the best ones.
– – – : The minimalism of the work will for sure keep some EBM purists away. This is not exactly an album make to set dance floors on fire rather than conceived from the passion of sound creation. It makes some parts of the album more complex and therefore less accessible for a wider audience.
Conclusion: “The Shortwaves” is what I would call a ‘difficult’ album, but definitely a brilliant and artistic piece of music when you like sound creation. It’s quite weird to see how vintage electro gear can be that avant-garde like and visionary-minded.
Best songs: “Whisky Tango Romeo”, “Radio Japan”, “The News”, “Radio Moscow (Part I & II)”, “The Shortwaves”.