Ex Voto – Christian Renou – CD – Elsie&Jack



Ex Voto..a votive offering to a saint or divinity..a perfect title for this, the latest offering from the wonderfully talented Christian Renou. Having made an uneasy transition from analogue to digital instrumentation and methodology, and dispensing with his former Brume nomenclature, Renou has yet again lived up to his reputation as one of the elder statesmen of the experimental scene, having emerged from the shadows of cassette culture more than 15 years ago. Never short on fresh ideas and inspiring works, Renou rarely fails to disappoint..there are very few upon whom I would bestow the status of “genius”, but Renou has to be one, alongside Andrew Mackenzie, Bernhard Gunther, and barely a handful of others who effortlessly combine oblique, leftfield ideas with compositional ingenuity and technical brilliance.

Renou’s releases have seen him carve out his own remarkable niche, walking a unique path that incorporates Musique Concret with minimalism, electro-acoustic composition, and an almost filmic soundtrack quality. Ex Voto sees Renou hard wiring his technically precise abstract sensibility into guitar and violin ambience, a whirlpool of elements that positively bristles with creativity, an expansive, atmospheric foray, a single work, that is split into numbered parts. This is more of a journey of discovery than a musical work, with microscopic sampled fragments being fused with conventional instrumentation, at times creating a tense, unsettling atmosphere that has come to characterise Renou’s signature techniques..creating moments of sublime beauty, that are suddenly severed by stark, almost frightening moments, that appear to breach all notions of reality, and transport the listener into an alien netherworld peopled by disembodied voices, and frenzied rhythms.

The ethereal refrains of “Amazing Grace” sung by Ilda von Gerart is subjected to Renou’s digital scalpel, and is warped ,stretched, and re-assembled into something totally un-nerving , with a dark beauty that is at once transcendent, yet utterly alien, one of the finest pieces of experimentalism that I’ve heard for a long time. This is composition handled by a master, and as with all Renou / Brume releases, comes with my highest recommendation. Absolutely essential. BGN


About whiteline1

WHITE_LINE was set up three years ago, in order to play and promote the work of artists and musicians working under the banner of "minimalism", in all its many guises. This has led to a regular and highly successful mix slot on the Garden of Earthly Delights radio show in the UK, and guest appearances on Resonance FM (frequenzen show). We now aim to extend the remit of the mix slots by reviewing (as often as possible) material that encapsulates and crystallises the minimalist ethic, and hopefully we'll be leading artists and audiences alike towards a deeper appreciation of this and other marginalised genres. I welcome your comments, and criticisms, and would love to hear from labels and artists who would like their work showcased on the show, or reviewed here. We regret that due to time constraints, we cannot review everything that is sent to us, but will endeavour to give exceptional work an "honourable mention" at the very least, and links to quality sites that we think worthy of mentioning. I am trying to support labels and artists as much as possible by promoting their work, not least because I am a stereotypical "struggling artist" myself, but also because there are so few younger artists entering this particular scene, and there is a danger of it becoming the sole domain of a handful of forty somethings who really ought to be doing something better with their time! Having worked for most of the more reputable underground magazines in the early 90's, I was never afforded the luxury of taking time and care over reviews, as deadlines and column space were always hanging like the sword of Damocles over me. With WHITE_LINE, I have the luxury of being able to review when I have time, and I am receptive to a particular mood, and hopefully this will reflect in the quality and length of some of the reviews. If you like what you see, please link to me to encourage more traffic through the site, and cross promote whatever is happening out there. Address for promotional material: 45 Drovers Walk Spring Park, Kingsthorpe Northampton NN2 8BB UK

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