Review Summary: "Excuse me sir, could I swap in my guitars for some synthesisers please?"
To say that this album is a change of style for Rémi Gallego is a massive understatement. He’s a well known niche as The Algorithm, the electro-metal you either love or you hate, and this time he has put away that intensity for something extremely different with Boucle Infinie, his new project.
You can tell from the first second of “直線移動” that this is an entirely different beast altogether. It has a slow build up, with instrumentation and a style that wouldn’t be out of place in a cyberpunk 8-bit game, and builds up beautiful to its first climax, before descending into calm again, only to come around for second helpings. It doesn’t feel like the 7:57-minute behemoth it is, which is an excellent sign that it isn’t boring music (it isn’t). In the whole album, Rémi doesn’t waste a second with needless technicalities, he goes for what is needed, keeps you guessing at what will happen next, and doesn’t let up at all.
I’ll skip “Inside” for a bit, and go straight to “System”. It takes a call and response of piano and guitar, playing off the melody in left and right ear, before a synth-guitar kicks in, continuing the soaring and flawless melody in a more continuous style. It’s the kind of piece, as all of them are, that you could listen to as background, or immerse yourself in it in isolation and still enjoy just as much, if not more. It plays around, echoing around your head, much like the beginning of “直線移動” and builds up perfectly, before giving way to “Meanings”, which starts relatively similarly. It turns into a piano-led synthwave tune, with airy reverbed vocals saying not-quite-words left and right and centre. It doesn’t do as much as the last two in terms of build-up, but does keep a good amount going to keep it interesting, before the drums of “雨” take over and you know we’re returning right to the beginning. It’s a faster pace, and the guitar and atmosphere just give you a sense that it’s building up for something big, with masterful and subtle foreshadowing. It builds up and fades away multiple times to tease you, and finally “ends”, only to kick in with a long and building bass drum, to bring the album to a close on a high note, a near-metal section only let down by how it’s mixed: the drums are slightly too far back in the mix, and it just doesn’t sound as crisp and clear as the rest of the album.
The only part of this album I don’t like as much as the others is track 2, “Inside”. The vocals were not expected, or exactly wanted. I appreciate the music, and I have come to like it more, but still, the singing is a sore point. It doesn’t suit the music that well, in my opinion, and if he had chosen a different person, or skipped on the vocals all together, I would not have missed it. They felt added for the point of adding them, and not to add more to the music.
Overall, this album is almost as good as any other of Rémi’s. But it isn’t perfect, and definitely isn’t classic. There are just the few minor let downs, like the vocal work in “Inside”, and some of the tracks sound too similar at some points if you aren’t paying full attention (sometimes I’ll forget which track I’m on, and have to look, which I don’t often do in the middle of a track). This album has clearly had a lot of work put into it, but the few downsides stop me from giving it a higher rating, which is disappointing, but I just can’t bring myself to rate it higher.