Review Summary: Every bit as bizarre as her work in Igorrr, but in so many different ways.
It's always a great feeling to discover an artist's solo work, especially when they've recently been used as a core component in another band. In the case of the ever elegant, mesmeric Laure le Prunenec, her performance on Igorrr's chaotic Spirituality and Distortion
seems to have drawn even greater interest from a wider fanbase, but it's clear that by listening to the magic of Rïcïnn's material, more talent unfolds. Indeed, if you wanted a clear-cut view of what Le Prunenec has brought to the world of experimental music, surely it's preferable to try Rïcïnn before anything else.
The first experience of Nereïd
will likely do your head in. Layers upon layers of jarring and unnerving vocal performances will undoubtedly mesh your listening experience, and the album only lasts a little over 40 minutes. In spite of this, it can also be a real charmer. The album is bookended by almost isolated vocal works, the harmonic intro “Zero” largely complementing the spacious sound of closer “Erani”. It would be remiss to push Prunenec's work aside as Rïcïnn is as much a vocal experiment as it is musical, and there's never a moment when these songs don't challenge your patience. “Doris” for instance pops out from nowhere, pushing its jarring and eerie vocal silhouettes in your face and soaring with the self-same elegance as mid-era Bjork. Building on this, the song seems to arrive into a much darker passage as extra lashings of vocal work arrive, some of which is made ever deeper thanks to Cattle Decapitation's Travis Ryan. Each vocal addition offers a different sound and style, and though there's a great threat of these several ideas clashing with each other, the collaboration strangely enough seems to work quite well. “J-C” and “Thaliae” are considerably more modern-sounding, accessible perhaps, Prunenec soaring with grandiosity as she sings “You make me feel like a woman/You make me feel like heaven” in the former and bellowing with seeming vengeance in the latter. The vocals are a strong centrepiece of Nereïd
, and if you can't get into them then it's the best of luck to you.
As said previously, the album's main body encapsulates all manner of different and quite often conflicting sounds. One of the prominent instruments here is the violin, used to represent various emotional soundscapes. Whether it's used for dramatic effect, as in the title track and “Thaliae”, or to create a distorted, menacing sound (“Missae” and “Psarmate”), the instrument certainly gets a good chance to spread its wings here. Of course, amidst a backdrop of bizarre ululations and intense drum rhythms, the violin is probably better stated as the icing on an extremely rich cake. When the instrument takes centre stage however, it's quite an alluring experience. The title track for example is brought to an almost orchestral crescendo as the violin seems to weep and glide in equal measure, closing the song on a high despite its low mood.
There are much louder songs to enjoy however, yet weirdly enough this doesn't detract from the vocal prowess. The initial acoustics of “Artae” are gentle but then Prunenec stabs at the production with a more harrowing voice than usual. Contrastedly, once the additional vocalizations come into play the song changes into this orchestral sound rife with bombast. “Doris” and “Sore” are perhaps two of the heaviest songs. The former doesn't bring its more metallic influences until the last minute or so, but the end result is deemed fantastic as a result. You can barely hear guitar work amidst the clattering of other sounds, but something about the end of the song seems to jump out and lift the general pace a few notches. “Sore” is more of an immediate listen in contrast. There's a flourish of electronic elements in the song which ultimately modernize the soundscape, lifting the style from orchestral to electrifying, the jarring rhythms providing a shaky ground for Prunenec's soothing vocal work. Again, it's a combination of conflicting sounds which deems this experimental work a success, but certainly not one you can "get" straight away.
doesn't exactly gel well with what you were expecting, it's because there's so much going on here that a first listen won't really uncover it's multiple layers. Yet as with Rïcïnn's debut, the album continually pushes boundaries of what we know as cohesive music. One thing's for sure, Laure le Prunenec seems to be in a world completely of her own, for better or worse. This latest album is thus deemed unlistenable for some, a glory to behold for others. For Laure Le Prunenec and Ricinn, it's undoubtedly a creative success.