NORD: Pictures from a Distorted Mirror (2021)
“Very good EM which travels between a conventional style with a zest of cosmic, Hard and Heavy, as well as Berlin School”
1 Part I 15:31
2 Part II 17:45
3 Part III 11:15
4 Part IV 6:33
5 Part V 11:09
6 Part VI 10:46
(DDL 73:01) (V.F.)
(Berlin School, Cosmic, E-Rock)
How does he do it? I don't know! In an album that leaves us perplexed when listening to the first 2 tracks, Nord succeeds in weaving a web of seduction which leads us into an electronic spiral where we must, first of all, tame a tones' flora dug on another planet. Thereafter, you have to get used to static structures to finally hook on a dose of wild rhythms where Gothic Hard Rock flirts with Berlin School in rhythmic gymnastics always in appetite. In fact, PICTURES FROM A DISTORTED MIRROR is an album progressing slowly, deploying its seduction traps here and there before swallowing us for good in its third level.
PICTURES FROM A DISTORTED MIRROR offers us a first part all in suspension. It's with a choreography of zigzagging waves that it migrates to our ears. An intro of haze and of rippling semicircles, EM art is heard by babbling little plastic chicks when percussive effects à la Jean-Michel Jarre and a slow creeping bassline attempt to activate the rhythm. Vampiric, this sumptuous bass delivers a duel with this mist that never stops moving and opalizing its whiteness. The percussive effects become more and more insistent, following the guttural phonetics of the bass which arouses the awakening of the synth. A synth that multiplies solos, even that some are deliciously high. One thing leading to another is the percussion and percussive effects that go into this stationary movement. Some effects take on the tone of a ball that begins to dribble over an anvil, while real electronic percussion responds to the call around 10 minutes. Despite this renewal of intensity and this musical fauna compressed to an unimaginable limit, Pictures from a Distorted Mirror - Part I will remain only a long prelude without coitus. A very good and long prelude that will even flirt with a cosmic vision. It's the inheritance obtained from Part II, another intense title which will require a big 9 minutes before hinting a rhythm deafened by a static musical mass. The rhythm tries to breathe and draw us into a spiral that already a 3rd option, no livelier, is offered to our ears around the 12th minute. A string of streaming sequences activates the ambiences always shrouded in a cosmic vision. But here too, another opening is created for another change of skin which is no longer important.
Pictures from a Distorted Mirror - Part III also takes a cosmic approach to coax our ears. Little tones of pearls are bursting with whiteness in a black cosmos, their brightneses more and more nourishing the decor. A decor that comes to life with new treasures to offer to these lines which paint the horizon of Part III in pastel and scarlet colors. It's a transformation of the synth that makes solos moan in these colors, covering the nervous flow of the rhythm. We are at the 5-minute barrier and the spasmodic rhythm breathes in a form of staccato as the percussive elements make me hear that rattlesnake tail dance and breathe. The explosion happens after the 7th minute! The hammering of the percussions shots down these solos which fall slowly in combat in a passage where Nord has nothing to learn from Gothic Hard Rock! It's curt and violent with a storm of riffs surging in without regard to the structure in place which clings to a strobe line. Loud and divine! Part IV follows with a Halloween approach in a circular motion too fast to sound like the melody of John Carpenter. The movement continues its progression by always exploiting a sound fauna which seduces before falling into a more progressive electronic rock phase. After a slow morphic opening, Pictures from a Distorted Mirror - Part V wakes up with a pulsating approach under a sky heavy by mists and orchestrations, a few seconds before the 5th minute. The explosion will be less violent than Part III but just as catchy with a very electronic vision. Speaking of electronics, Pictures from a Distorted Mirror - Part VI follows the evolution of a good crescendo by being coated with good and rather creative percussive effects. The sequencer forges a zigzagging line under an illuminated sky with a fusion of electronic and organic effects whose conclusion will be a very Berlin School electronic rock.
How Nord is doing it? I still don't know, but he manages to constantly grab our attention with albums chain-made in his own home studio and available for download. Changing even of style inside his albums. Like here where his EM travels between a conventional style with a zest of cosmic, Hard and Heavy as well as Berlin School. All this at the same address. It's Nord!
Sylvain Lupari (April 2nd, 2021) ***¾**
Available at Nord Bandcamp