CD, Prasca, 2008
With an extensive list of participations and creations in a relatively short time, as well as a nomination for the 2005 Qwartz awards, the French musician and experimental composer Syn- has collaborated with celebrated artists such as Von Magnet and is also a co-founder of the art collective Prasca. “Manolo on Juliet”, his latest work, is a blend of experimental electro-acoustic compositions and spoken word of poems and texts by the writer known as E.3151 (a fellow member of Prasca) who is also responsible for most of the vocal performance. It was certainly one of the most interesting releases which landed in my hands in 2008 and a release definitely worth discovering.
“Manolo on Juliet” is an unsettling journey through the world and mind of the main character, Manolo – his hopes and dreams, his desires, his seemingly hopeless struggle and efforts against fate and his own condition are laid bare for the listener throughout this narrative. Through complex cinematic and evocative post-industrial soundscapes, coupled with ambient passages and organic elements, the world and events surrounding Manolo are allegorically described, enhancing the spoken narrative on many levels and opening it to different interpretations on each listen, leading the listener to empathize with Manolo’s plight and effectively feel the evolution of the story even if one does not understand it (the texts are exclusively in French). With “Manolo on Juliet”, Syn- and E.3151 succeeded in creating a memorable and captivating experience which thrives on the listener’s imagination and which can be revisited over and over again, each visit revealing and giving different meanings to the story of Manolo.
Even though an attentive listen is recommended to fully appreciate this album, it is not essential, as “Manolo on Juliet” effectively draws the listener’s attention both on a conscious and unconscious level. Also, language should not be seen as a barrier to appreciating it for, while the narrative does have its importance in this work and its progression, it is essentially driven by the coherent synergy between the musical compositions and the extremely expressive and engaging spoken word element. Further, the authors urge the listeners to read the texts aloud to reveal other meanings they may have – essentially implying that the written word will be as subjective as the musical enhancement.
— Miguel de Sousa