Mélodie Blaison - Avant le Rivage

Released: May 17

On her latest album, French artist Mélodie Blaison pulls off a fascinating trick in which she combines sounds of both acoustic and synthetic origins in a way that blurs the lines between both. Delicate percussive sounds bounce around somewhat playfully while more conventional acoustic instruments like flutes and keys warp and twist themselves into stereoscopic knots they saunter across the stage. There is quite a depth to the compositions as they intertwine classical compositional techniques with more abstract uses of recorded sounds, some of unfamiliar source and other more readily graspable.

"Sans Rivage" opens the album up with clinking percussion that is heavily saturated by some type of off center delay that transforms into an almost watery sounds, as if delicate crystal ice is softly chipping and breaking in front of us. It later is joined by a soft bit of keys that bleed into a long pad like drone, which plays off of the keys and vice-versa. Later on in the album, "Mariposa" comes along to show us the depth of Blaison's flute skills. The flute part that leads the track along for the most part is not overly-complicated or technical, but its is quite effective in setting a mood and leaves room for the subtle sound manipulations that are applied to it, setting a ghostly kind of vibe that is punctuated by the whooshing and gently thudding sound effects that piece through irregularly. 

Blaison ends this experience with a track that shares the name of the album and gives subtle recalls to the opening track with a flute part that vaguely resembles the pads of "Sans Rivage." A curious addition here is the percussion that somewhat resembles the sound of gentle bells and rough metal being softly scraped. It presents an odd juxtaposition that places the gentle and breathy sounds of a flute against the industrial detritus from which these metallic sounds come. But as I said, these combinations and blends of sound sources is what is most intriguing about the album. It feels very much like a dream-state pressing up to the boundaries of the real world and resulting in something that seems both grounded and other-worldly simultaneously.    


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