Vromb – Rayons

Vromb - Rayons

CD, Ant-Zen, 2003
www.vromb.com

“Rayons” is the most recent album in the 10-year musical career of Canadian musician Hugo Girard who, in many levels, has become a reference in the Noise, Ambient and Experimental genres.
This latest Vromb album is certainly easier to apprehend, one could even say more conventional, than the previous album “Episodes” but not as much as the seemingly playful 3″ “Le Tourne-Disque”. As an ambient album, “Rayons” is very un-intrusive and does not ‘require’ any attention, it just ‘is there’, becoming noticeable only on occasion in short, subtle flashes and then fading back into the background. The intricate and subtle sound constructions are almost flawless, as if they were millimetrically studied down to the last detail in their conception.
According to promo/press material, the concept behind “Rayons” is the description of rays of many kinds of light in a musical form, in an attempt to translate visual impressions into audio, switching the senses and maybe achieving a synesthetic effect. However, I feel that defining ambient albums can sometimes work as a self-fulfilling prophecy as the listener will end up hearing and conjuring the concepts suggested in the description or even by visuals in the CD booklet.
“Rayons” can indeed convey the impressions described in the promos and in a brilliant way, depending, of course, on the listener and the degree of suggestibility. In listening to “Rayons” I couldn’t help noticing that frequently I remembered (or imagined I remembered) different kinds of light, in an almost ‘static’ way (as if time had stood still), the ‘light’ changing with the environment: from abandoned cityscapes to empty, dusty amphitheatres.
All this, while focusing on the music, that is. If not, “Rayons” becomes ambient music: melting into the background and surfacing occasionally, conveying impressions in a much more subtle and imperceptible manner.

[9/10]

— Miguel de Sousa