GRÜM~PÉ: A Strange Uncertain Light (2021)
Updated: Jul 9, 2021
“A surprising and intriguing album with a force in the rhythms which is not very usual”
1 An Amicable Resolution 9:55
2 A Strange Uncertain Light 5:45
3 Fugitive Quandaries 7:37
4 Shards of Misheard Canticles 4:09
5 Disrupted Threads of Energy 9:32
6 The Lies of Lazy Days 3:40
7 The Pattern Jugglers 14:24
8 Unravelling Rogue Truths in Interesting Times 13:51
(DDL 68:54) (V.F.)
(Modular Synth Music)
A newcomer on the label on the Cyclical Dreams label? Nahhh... Maurice Gallagher is the man behind Grüm~Pé. The English synthesist has released almost 50 albums on Bandcamp. Some of them have been selected by Synth Music Direct and his last one, A STRANGE UNCERTAIN LIGHT, is released on Cyclical Dreams. Grüm~Pé weaves an abstract universe on this album with an alien sound from his modular synths and rebellious and disheveled rhythms. A difficult album to approach which amply deserves your patience and desire to go and meet a new sound fauna.
An Amicable Resolution opens with a conversation between aliens. The flow of the percussive chords and the effects of dialogues imagined by the synths pave the way to a title which separates ambiances and melodies to let the rhythmic phase implant its morse code. We find various sources of rhythms which are like highways and secondary roads bogged down which intersect in crossroads without exit. The synth manages to coordinate its alien moans with the rhythms as the latter veer off on another tangent, forcing the synth to do the same. And with their visions and tones. A very good track that is a nice invitation to discover this Grüm~Pé album. A Strange Uncertain Light proposes a slow track full of mysteries and intrigues with synth pads that land like razor blows. The influences border a kind of sonic schizophrenia with effects and strange organic scents. A strange and sinister track that also offers some very good percussive effects around these incisive arrangements. Fugitive Quandaries is a very aggressive track with intertwined movements of a sequencer in madness. An all-rhythm track with the addition of an endlessly pulsating bass-sequencer line, the rhythm is pounded with a jumping finger in an improvised vision. It goes in all directions, even borrowing the flavors of UK in the first minute of Presto Vivace And Reprise. There's not a second's respite in this disheveled structure. Inserted here in the album makes the structure a little less aggressive. It remains a title all in continuous rhythm on its 7 minutes and 37 seconds which gives the vertigo to the ears. Shards of Misheard Canticles begins with a wave of reverberations, picking up everything in its wake. There are indeed these bursts of misheard hymns and other stuff in its footprints. Mostly dust and/or industrial clatter, there are mostly screeches and sonic imprints of creeping shadows in this atmospheric passage heavy with the ambitions of its title.
Then comes that structure bouncing of its gurgling sequences that is Disrupted Threads of Energy. Made from Fugitive Quandaries' left buttock, the rhythm remains no less musical. Even in its experimental vision since a melodic line appears in this troop of jumping balls always very crazy but tamable. Again, more than 9 minutes of hearing balls clashing, tinkling and colliding in a poorly soundproofed parallel universe can break any patience! Hulking winds and clanging machinery are at the origin of The Lies of Lazy Days, an ambient track with a discomfort that would fit well with the title-track. We find those bold synths of An Amicable Resolution extracting oil from Picasso in their solos on the semi-ambient track The Pattern Jugglers. Semi-ambient because static in spite of the ambiences, which are more musical too, and this carpet of sequences teeming with artificial life on which the structure of The Pattern Jugglers rests. But no matter, this track is filled with synth solos with bold spins and touching high pitches. The music quietly evaporates to let the sequencer play and the various rhythmic elements isolate themselves around the 8th minute in a finale that stretches out and brings nothing concrete, artistically speaking, to the track. Unravelling Rogue Truths in Interesting Times is the only track that flirts with the Berlin School universe. The rhythm is solid with a freedom from the sequencer that brings us back to the rhythmic cohort of Fugitive Quandaries, but in a more coherent vision. The jumping balls share discipline and its opposite, for short phases, and a strongly structured melodious side. A very good track structured on beautiful visions of the sequencer that manages to master its rebellious side, making of this track the gem of A STRANGE UNCERTAIN LIGHT.
There you have it! An album strong of its creative sequencing and of this synth language that led us to the doors of something new. Something bold that asks some listening to convince yourself that you have a treat for your ears with this A STRANGE UNCERTAIN LIGHT, a surprising and intriguing album with a force in the rhythms which is not very common from Grüm~Pé.
Sylvain Lupari (July 8th, 2021) *****
Available at Cyclical Dreams Bandcamp