Melodium: Coloribus
Abandon Building

Though France's Laurent Girard has issued a wealth of Melodium music during the past dozen years, Coloribus finds him in especially fine form. With releases now counting in the double digits, Girard's signature brand of folk-tinged electronica has achieved a noticeable polish on musical and production grounds, and such sophistication is clearly evident on the new collection. The Melodium style is instantly apparent even just a few seconds into the opening song. It's the simple, sing-song piano melodies dancing through “Hey June” that shout “Melodium!” right away, and his music's sunny side is also spotlighted on “Augusta Falls” when its pizzicatti string patterns brighten the song's otherwise melancholic tendencies. As one would expect, that well-known melancholy side of Melodium gets a thorough workout too, with songs such as “The Link is Dead,” “Sweet Depression,” and “I Am Epsilon” instantiating that oft-times elegant dimension of Girard's music.

Another thing that identifies the material as pure Melodium is the seamless integration of acoustic and electronic sounds, as Girard succeeds at erasing any boundaries separating the two sides and uniting them into an organic whole (hear, for example, how naturally the acoustic guitar strums complement the fluttering electronics flowing through the background of “White Chapel”). While electronics are present, the lead voice is often allocated to the piano, and Girard's signature melodic style is rarely unaccounted for either. He indulges his more explorative side in allowing an occasional piece veer into experimental soundscaping territory (e.g., “Aural Stimuli,” “Saltic de Ridig”), but even when it does it eventually grounds itself to some degree in melody. With the album comprised of twenty tracks, there appears to be an excess of music on offer, but in fact Coloribus is less excessive than it might at first seem as every one of the songs hovers around the two-minute mark. The album plays, then, like a stimulating collection of miniatures, like a play of multiple vignettes that never stays too long in any one place. Boredom never becomes an issue when the scenery changes as often as it does.

April 2011