Behind the French solo-project SIGNAL~BRUIT is hiding the enigmatic ‘Member U-0176’. Electro-pop lovers for sure know the man from his involvement with Cellloïde and Thee Hyphen while he’s still running the label BOREDOMproduct and the sub-division productB. Four years ago now he unleashed the debut-album “Planisphère(s)” on Sevren Ni-Arb (X-Mark The Pedwalk) label Meshwork. The work clearly revealed a retro-electro approach reminding pioneers in the genre, but still a space-minded ambient/soundtrack style. The new album “Hyperborée” has been released on productionB and moves a step further, revealing a new concept and a more elaborated and intelligent sound creation. “Hyperborée” is a truly masterpiece I can only recommend.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: You this year released the second album of Signal~Bruit, but can you tell us how this project saw the daylight?
U-0176: In between two albums of Celluloide, I’m always searching for ideas, experimenting sequences and creating sounds, testing new settings with synthesizers… which we keep in store for incorporating into Celluloide’s pop format later.
Sometimes I decide to record my improvisations when I feel it has an interesting mood, though it isn’t obviously made for Celluloide.
I was reading the book “Flatland” and I had the kind of feeling that the book left a mark on the ‘atmosphere’ of what I was creating when turning knobs and improvising notes and sequences.
So I had the idea to keep these tracks to illustrate important parts of the book with sound atmospheres and melodies… like a soundtrack for a book.
Q: You’ve been –and still are, involved with different projects such as Thee Hyphen and of course Celluloïde so what brings this new project and music experience in your artistic career? Is there a kind of specific sonic identity or quest behind this new work?
U-0176: I think it’s very difficult to write songs… so it takes a lot of energy and time to write new songs for Celluloide or Thee Hyphen… maybe it’s too much demanding for me now.
So experimenting sounds, effects, patches is more like a recreational time for me. I have no other objective than ‘feel’ the sound change when I turn the knobs.
Then organizing all these experiments into something that makes a consistent piece is a completely different work than writing a song, and I like this a lot.
Q: Signal~Bruit clearly sounds as a wink to some electronic pioneers; the creation of sounds and especially atmospheres appear to be some essential elements in the process. Can you give us a bit more details about it all and also about the way of creating this music (and sounds)?
U-0176: Yes, I have always been influenced by lots of different electronic music and of course pioneers like Tangerine Dreams. I’ve always been fascinated by their albums of the Froese/Franke/Baumann era, and the solo works of Froese of the same period… But I’m also a huge fan of Lassigue Bendthaus or Clock DVA, and I like very much the experiments of Autechre… I just want to do something similar… not similar in sound but, trying to test new things, new ways.
Creation of sounds and effects is essential because it’s where it starts, when I have an interesting texture, I play with it and try to find the notes that work best with it. Tracks are constructed bit by bit until I get to something. It can be very long and requires a lot of post-recording rework…
Q: I noticed an important evolution in sound and production from the debut album “Planisphère(s)” and “Hyperborée”? How do you perceive this evolution and what have been the main changes/evolutions from the first album till “Hyperborée”?
U-0176: Evolution in sound is simply led by the story I’m trying to illustrate… These two albums illustrate very different stories, so they sound different.
So that’s the story beneath that influences the result. You cannot make a soundtrack for a Western film sound the same as a sci-fi movie, that’s just it.
Sound and productions are quite similar, but I probably used more digital synthesizers on “Hyperborée”, and a lot more effects, so it could have made a significant change.
Q: “Hyperborée” seems to be a conceptual album so can you tell us a bit more about it? Did this conceptual work need some kind of preparation and how did you finally achieve it?
U-0176: “Hyperborée” follows the journey of Pythéas from Massalia to the North Pole in 300 BC. This is a true story, but we lost the details from this expedition. We only know that he discovered the Northern seas, territories and people while he was trying to prove the earth is a sphere. I read several books on his story, and we’re not sure how he made it, but he did.
So I tried to imagine a possible path for this antic adventure that I see as thrilling as discovering space in the modern age.
Q: To me Signal~Bruit stands for intelligent electronic music, but unfortunately there’re less people interested in ‘intelligent’ music. What does it evoke to you and how do you as label owner look at bands with intelligent and sophisticated compositions?
U-0176: Yes, releasing albums for Signal~Bruit or Novocibirsk as we did with productionB is quite risky, but we’re not doing it for success.
I hope that we’ll find enough people to buy our records so that we can keep up the flag high as long as possible, that’s our objective.
As you can see, we stated it right from the start when launching productionB
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