Review: Franck Vigroux – Rapport sur le Désordre

2016vigroux.inddRapport sur le Désordre is the music that might reign over the nightmares of a bleeding edge AI scientist. Someone whose days are spent deep inside the guts of algorithmic code, and whose evenings are spent fraught with anxiety about the implications of increasingly technological power and ubiquity. Vigroux transforms these fears into a horrible, larger-than-life monster, combining the physical crushing power of hydraulic machines, phased electromagnetic waves and the ungainly, visceral zap of 10,000 volts at a time – basically, the hallucinatory amalgam of technology’s dominations in intelligence, omnipresence and physical strength. It’s an album that seems to be forever slipping from composer control, outstripping the potential of human design to become something infinitely more complicated and overwhelming: electronic beats erupting and vanishing without prompt, amplifier feedback stranded on crossroads of fizzing, throbbing electronic drones, voices trapped amidst the noise like radio frequencies cast astray. Compositional cohesion seems to be fraying all of the time. During the irregular thumps and rabid, industrial gnash of tracks like “Stadium”, I wonder whether Vigroux’s creation is about to spiral into absolute, frenzied autonomy; feeding its own polymetric output back into itself, generating a feedback loop of computer code that becomes more erratic by the line.

Even when the album reduces to simpler forms, it retains its fixation on authority and intimidation. The second half of “Sun” brings to mind a gigantic, horrible obelisk, with a simple bass pulse evoking looming vertical scale, and a vocoder gently reciting hymns of robotic worship. Even the soft ambient vapours of “Élastique” feel somewhat insidious, wafting to the perimeter of the stereo field, fizzing like all of the microwaves that linger invisibly within the air I breathe. There are traces of organic life hidden within Rapport sur le Désordre, but they’ve either been banished to the edges or find themselves drowning beneath the din of electronics; the rainfall of “Ruines” for example, which frames the synths like a storm tapping on the roof of a small laboratory, or the voices that cut in and out of final track “Aucun Lieu”, whose utterances feel too disparate and ambiguous for the extraction of any concrete meaning. The organic world has a secondary presence here, and given the ruthless and domineering conduct of Vigroux’s electronics, it’s only a matter of time before those traces of biological life are vanquished entirely. In which case, will Vigroux and I be vanquished too?