Monochromie is the project of a French composer named Wilson Trouvé. "Wilson" is a French name? Huh.
His music is exquisitely crafted and rather pretty, but it is an odd stylistic mix. About half of the songs are new age-ish ambient: a wash of George Winston-style piano. The other half is Aphex Twin-damaged keyboard electronic ambient with popping, hissing noises, and strange percussion wandering about. And when i say half of the tunes, i do not mean that, of the 13 tracks here, 6 are of one type and 7 the other. No, i mean that each song goes through parts where it is pretty light piano music, then Drukqs kind of happens and things get a little weird.
I listen to both new agey ambient and bizarre laptoptronica and i still find the juxtaposition between them to be a little jarring at times. If you are not into either of those kinds of things, then you might find this release to downright weird. Heck, you might need to be a fan of both of them to really enjoy this…
Polyhmnia, to take a track at random (although one of the ones that i feels works the best), is kind of the perfect Monochromie song in this respect. It starts with a meandering keyboard bit that is soon joined by a feedbacking drone and some skittering beats. It grows, reverbing, until a skipping beat takes over and the piano hits a simple riff. This really is where it all comes together for Trouvé, a beautiful swirl of beats, synths, and piano. It is lovely and odd at the same time.
There is plenty more to like here, but let me go over just a few of the songs.
Although i really like the remixed-new age of Polyhmnia, i think Trouvé's best track might be L’envolée. This is about 5 minutes long, and it grows wonderfully. The first minute could have been taken directly from George Winston's 1982 new age classic December. Over the next two minutes, a swell of synth strings rises first to compete with the piano, and eventually to almost bury it. Then a chorus is heard, kind of lost in the mix, but chanting beneath the synths and the piano. This is really pretty.
On the aptly named Noise Trouvé out-does Fennesz to make a dense, abstract tune, while Ethereal Lights is nicely ambient in a way that reminds me of Auburn Lull. On The Lost Victory he even adds in a regular drum sound, like Explosions In the Sky coming out of nowhere!
But i like all of this. I think that what Trouvé is doing is very worthwhile. It sounds fresh. He has a lot of good ideas and i want to see where he takes them. If you like strange electronica, new age, or ambient music, this would be a fine listening experience.