This album sounds like a much more personal affair then earlier works to me, retaining many of the trademark stylings that have become associated with Raoul’s sound, but maybe a touch more stripped back, still gripping and intriguing with complex rhythms and complex sounds, but now almost like proper songs with melodies and arrangements going on.
[Release page] Raoul Sinier is an artist. I mean it literally, not in some highbrow high culture kind of way, of course we’re all artists really, but Raoul is an artist in that he creates visual images which are absolutely stunning, if more then a little disturbing, and has done so for quite some time. He also creates videos, flash games, animation and is generally a creative powerhouse. Music is one facet of his creative output, but it has always been closely linked with all his other outpourings of expression. I’ve enjoyed the various extras that usually come bundled with his releases, in fact the PDF booklet that accompanied his third album Brain Kitchen has some imagery that still wakes me in the dead of night shaking in fear (download it for free here). I will never think of cooking in the same innocent way again, or for that matter radishes!
Guilty Cloaks is Raoul’s fifth full length album and shows a certain maturity and depth, which I suppose is inevitable after that much output. Nevertheless, it is good to see someone genuinely progressing and developing over time. I can think of several musical outfits that have been going for a great many years with no discernible development at all, I’m thinking specifically in the field of ‘rock’ music. In particular, there is much more use of vocals in this album, both by himself and guest singers. I think the use of voices in music makes it much easier and likely for us as humans to connect to the songs. The human voice is (for me) the most effective instrument for expressing music, and is often what musicians using instruments are striving for, for example when someone makes a guitar sing, or plays a violin in such a way as to bend and morph notes between the predefined areas traditionally referred to as notes, modulating sounds in a way that resembles the constant flux of vocal chords. Also, words add a great deal of meaning to music, it’s a whole other layer of context that is instantly added. What? Too much analysis? Fine, you’re probably right.
This album sounds like a much more personal affair then earlier works to me, retaining many of the trademark stylings that have become associated with Raoul’s sound, but maybe a touch more stripped back, still gripping and intriguing with complex rhythms and complex sounds, but now almost like proper songs with melodies and arrangements going on. Although it’s not quite into the realms of the singer/songwriter (thankfully – there are more then enough self-indulgent, softly spoken acoustic guitar players singing about unrequited love, thanks), there is still plenty of schizophrenic jumping about between sounds, rhythms and textures within the tracks, and indeed between them.
An interesting and intriguing album, it has grown on me steadily since the first listens. Definitely for the more discerning listener who doesn’t mind a bit of a challenge. The many layers will reward you as they slowly peel away revealing hidden parts with each new listen.