Savage Sinusoid by IgorrrRelease date: June 16, 2017
Label: Metal Blade Records
Through his whacky melding of breakbeats, extreme metal, classical, and baroque music, Gautier Serre – also known as Igorrr – deserves a safe spot on any worthy listing of France’s most boundary pushing acts, having brought both metalheads and electronic music fans out of their comfort zone, uniting them on the unexplored middle ground between the two genres. Over a decade into his career, the mad Frenchman’s quirky, deranged musings still defy all attempts at finding definite categorisation.
As the largely anticipated, long awaited follow-up to 2012’s Hallelujah, Savage Sinusoid sets its mark as a particularly ambitious return to the full-length format, most notably as the musicians’ first sample free-release. Aided by a hefty lineup of collaborators, the producer takes on a daunting task of crafting an entire records’ worth of deranged, schizophrenic genre-melding tracks from scratch. This audacious shift in workflow most notably grants Gautier an extra degree control over his sounds, allowing him to experiment with new types of compositions. The instrumental performances are thus given more space this time around; tracks like the waltzing ‘Cheval’, the nocturnal ‘Problème d’Emotion’ or the downright absurd ‘Houmous’ are namely based around solo instrumental performances, backed by unlikely but stunningly effective arrangements drawing from completely unrelated genres.
From blast-beats to stuttering breakbeat rhythms, operatic singing to filthy death growls, sitars and accordions melodies to overdriven black metal riffs, it’s certainly no wonder that Igorrr took no less than 4 years to write, record and produce this album. Naturally, Laurent Lunoir and Laure Le Prunenec’s operatic singing and screaming also make a return on this record, a triumphant one punctuated by some phenomenal performances. Understandably, the studio-based approach to composing does make for slightly less erratic song structures; ideas and sections are more drawn out and transitions are smoother, less abrupt. With that being said, the immense amount of moods and musical influences tied together on these songs is truly overwhelming. Furthermore a few tracks do offer some interesting tracks that use both in-the-box and studio band arrangements, namely ‘Opus Brain’ and ‘Robert’, the two craziest tracks of the album. Songs like ‘Houmous’ pair organic band arrangements with the disjointed sound manipulations one typically expects from a sample-splicing breakbeat producer.
Savage Sinusoid is definitely Igorrr’s most versatile record, thanks to its greater emphasis on solo performances, though it does suffer from a couple of pacing issues. For one, the track ‘Viande’ seems to mess up album’s overall progression, the album making a lot more sense when one skips it to make ‘ieuD’ the introductory number. Furthermore, the track listing could have maybe alternated between the slower numbers and the more intense moments; the albums’ middle section takes a little while to pick up the pace after ‘Opus Brain’, whereas the crazier songs are blasted out one after the other right before the album’s epic closer.
Overall, Savage Sinusoid is certainly a crazy album and an impressive piece of work, albeit quite a frustrating one as it struggles to shed its last bits of sanity. Through its full reliance on original recorded material, Igorrr’s new record chips in a few new ideas, but has yet to fully come into its own to take things to a new level. As varied and solid as its tracks may be, Savage Sinusoid ultimately struggles to set a new precedent in Igorrr’s discography.