Music News


The cover art for Installation Sonore, the full-length debut album from France's rinôçérôse, is a perfect metaphor for the band's sound: A Concorde jet's gleaming white nose cone set against a steel-gray background evokes both speed and sleekness, the latest technology wrapped up in an aerodynamic package capable of producing a sonic boom.With a live guitar-and-bass assault assisted by plenty of programming, rinôçérôse indeed creates roaring rocked-out dub/house music when it hits Mach speed. "La Guitaristic House Organisation" opens the disc with kick-drum, a throbbing-bass backbeat, syncopated rhythm guitar, and layers of swirling synths that expand and contract hypnotically. Grainy talk-box guitar joins the fray, and just as the song seems to wind down, it bursts back into full gear, the wall of sound growing thicker layer by layer until it reaches a screeching climax.

As modern as its music is, rinô is also fond of retro musing. Free-jazz flute brings to mind techno Jethro Tull, which sounds scary but works perfectly. "Sublimior" features breathy flute phrasing over a thumping bass line; "Le Mobilier" swaggers with twangy, stabbing guitar notes that counter warm organ chords and sprightly flute fills.

Plaintive guitar lines hint at down-home blues on several tracks, but the style comes full force on "I Love Ma Guitare." The track opens with a gravel-voiced bluesman muttering "'S what you call a downbeat," and the phrase is looped into a rhythmic accompaniment to a lazy drum pattern and sad strains of acoustic guitar before the song erupts into searing blues riffage. The whirlwind stylistic tour continues on "323 Secondes de Musique Répétitive Avec Guitare Espagnole" and "Mes Vacances à Rio," both of which include doses of fleet-fingered, spicy Spanish guitar work.

Interestingly enough, this engaging stew of sounds is the creation of two French psychologists. Husband and wife Jean-Philippe Freu and Patrice Carrié formed rinôçérôse from the remains of one of the hottest indie-rock bands in their hometown of Montpellier. He played guitar and she bass, and while the two loved to rock, they also shared a passion for dance music and vowed to make their own on traditional instruments. Programmer Johnny Palumbo was brought in to kick up the groove.

Fittingly for a project headed up by mental-health professionals, the upbeat Installation ends on an especially shiny, happy note. Palumbo's Juno 106 synth is set to a cheerful yet earthy organ drone on the charming "Le Triangle," which is, of course, carried along by the chiming of that simple, three-sided instrument. Such a supersonic soundscape never sounded so warm and fuzzy.

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John Ferri