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Review

Normand Babin, Néomémoire, June 25, 2020

What is retro futurism if not a way of seing the future holding on what comes from the past? In Intoxidation, first shared composition between composer Vergil Sharkya’ and the experimental vocalist Sarah Albu, there is a large number of datas that were entered and reprogramed. We can feel here influences from concrete musique and electronic music from its beginning around the 60s. But we can also hear some almost classical vocal lines, as in Mâchoire de sirène for example. A ‘déjà vu’ impression which bring us back when future was bright and clean. But as we dig in the listening, we understand the two artists want to bring us much further. We understand we are facing here a reinterpretation of the classics and a collage, as in visual arts, of diverse sound schemes. Superposed in many layers, this is a very rich sound palette. The collage reminds us of the surrealism era and, in fact, there is some surrealism in the music and the titles of the pieces. Is this retro futurist surrealism? Of course.

In tracks number 4 and 5: coquillage radio vs. ancient sea receiver and récepteur de la mer antique vs. radioshell the artists play with our ears. Hard to say if this is the same tracks played differently, simply switching from one ear to the other, giving more volume to one track then to the other, but this little virtuosity trick makes you smile and makes you feel, true or not, you suddenly understand what is happening.

… merely a vehicle for the sauce is the most ambitious piece of the album. In this song, Sarah Albu uses the entire spectrum of sound a human can possibly produce with the voice. Sarah Albu’s voice is remarkably pure, she uses very little vibrato, a white voice that suddenly cracks or seem to diffract. From pure arpeggios to meows, vibration noises made with the lips to throat singing, etc. The electronic are there to accompany and amplifie. Here is what can be consider an aria from the 21st Century. This is a virtuoso music, there is a mini-drama, a story, so the technical and sensitive aptitudes of the singer are fully implied. Both the performance and the composition make this a very successful piece.

This album has a program, a beginning, an end, some vast and great moments, some funny moments, this album reflects the perfect harmony between the two artists and this harmony transcends through magnificent songs.

This album has a program, a beginning, an end, some vast and great moments, some funny moments, this album reflects the perfect harmony between the two artists and this harmony transcends through magnificent songs.

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