The term experimental is passed around music today like that moralistic social media comment that everybody’s eager to align with, but very few personify in any tangible reality. It’s something that goes to describe anything from improvised Noise to droning Techno with the experimental elements very often laid bare as something simple like: “I didn’t know where this would take me”. There are composers and producers that like to latch onto the term as some sort of credential to expose their centre-left sensibilities, but very often just coming across as something self-indulgent and not wholly thought out. The tag today has taken on undesirable connotations for those truly experimenting within music in a professional sense. Experimental music should be reclaimed as a bridge a gap to that next evolution in music, providing a clear path for the receptive listener, like it was when the likes of Cage and Stockhausen was branded as such. Today it should relate to people like Mika Vainio, Fennesz and Ryuichi Sakamoto, who have the sincere ability to push music forward at each step without the listener ever being aware that they are witnessing a new musical evolution. It should adorn an artist like Franck Vigroux too, whose perceptive gaze covers everything from noise, to electro-acoustic to even heavy rock where a mutability exists between these genres and pushes music as a whole forward – beginning at experimentation, but is refined in a sincere musical capacity. His latest recorded work an album called Rapport sur le Désordre embodies this ability in Vigroux’s music, and without really being quite receptive you wouldn’t even know it was there.
Rapport sur le Désordre plays continually in atmospheres that compound in tension, through compositions that take on definitive forms. Saw tooth waveforms fight against impudent, distorted guitars like a Rob Zombie Poltergeist reaching out of a static TV for you. There is a nineties Nine Inch Nail’s style of sonic palette that forms the basis of songs like Simulacres, Flesh, Stadium and Icone, but Vigroux uses them like a springboard to jump over into the border territories of noise and electro-acoustic music, that make it far more accessible than the purist moments in those latter styles. Even the most cliché “metal-noise” moments reveal complexities that mutate, twist and grind through to the next phrase, which at the end takes you to a whole new sonic world. Vigroux it seems thrives on tension and even the most reserved moments feature devices to instil a sense of disquietude in the listening experience, if not emphasising disorder, at least balancing on the crest towards it. Yes, there is an edge to it all, and it’s delivered in great poise and restraint in fully formed song-structures that hold your attention for its duration, instead of disappearing into some intemperate exercise to accommodate little more than the artistic self. This feature isn’t merely the reserve of individual songs, but happens in the meta-narrative of the album too and it’s throughout the quieter, more reserved moments like Elastique and Ruines where Vigroux’s compositional aptitude astounds. He creates magnificent textures within concise structures that melt and float as if an apathetic organism on its way to nowhere, with purpose, and relies on a vast musical language that speaks to a more inquisitive personality. Songs like these bear listening to again and again, with so much focus going into the minutia of the song in order to create this experience. You get the sense that Vigroux is painstakingly precise in every moment of the smallest, insignificant sonic occurrence, where even something like irrepressible feedback is contained and manipulated to the composer’s exact, and planned will.
This is something that Vigroux has been steadily refining since 2009’s Récolte when he left the inflexible musique concréte moments of Triste Lilas behind for something more comprehensive. Rapport sur le Désordre in the true way of experimenting, notches up to the next step not only in music’s evolution, but Vigroux’s own too. In the greater scheme of Vigroux’s work featuring trans-disciplinary philosophies – which have informed this album through an audio-visual performance created in collaboration with Kurt D’Haeseleer – Rapport sur le Désordre plays an even bigger role in the experimental canon. There is no hint of anything that ever sounds incomplete or unfinished, right from the conceptual stages of the album to the finished product. Vigroux shows an incredible command of his chosen art form here, one that hides the subtle evolutions of the music in the maturity the artist’s work and which we, in the name of Franck Vigroux reclaim in the experimental realm.