Laurent Colson - Split Soul
Released off label 2022
This review was commissioned through Ko-fi. However, it bears no weight on the score or decision. All reviews are written from an unbiased standpoint.
Just as I last reviewed Laurent Colson’s album “Dark Celebration”, I can tell you that his deep and dark beats left me in a hypnotic stupor for most of the run. While it would be easy to classify Colson’s work as witch-house, which is primarily is, it would be a shame to not realize the chill atmospheres, fantasy-based realization, and other influences from wave genres such as synth- and retro-. ‘Eternal Lullaby’ is the kicker to the album which rumbles along at a steady rate, delivering deep, ambient bass amongst trickles of xylophone effects, and glitchy percussion. The four-minute track is always over before I realize it and I think it’s a perfect opener for Colson.
‘Back To An Alternate Version’ is another stand-out track for me. The depressing mood reminds me of a cross between darkwave and synthpop. The poppier bits come in the form of the brighter synths that peak through the clouds as rhythm and depressing atmosphere gives me darkwave vibes. The synthetic / made-up vocals are an issue – but we’ll get to that later. Tracks such as ‘Split Soul’ dive into drum’n’bass aesthetics while the likes of ‘Introspection’ dive ever-so-slightly into IDM territory. There are a ton of genre mash-ups to be found on “Split Soul” and they all sound rather wicked and in tune with what Laurent Colson puts down.
Laurent Colson also has tremendous production skills that aren’t to be doubted. Throughout my run on “Split Soul” I never found myself finding one sound or another within the mix to be overpowering. Never once did I feel as if there was a hiccup in a song. It is as music is meant to be heard, with everything having a moment and a place. Every instrument, every synth is heard nice and crisp. This isn’t necessarily shocking, but it is nice to see considering the witch-house scene is filled to the brim with a lot of bedroom producers who think cranking up the DB is equal to making good music.
What’s holding back Laurent Colson’s sound design still remains in his use of synthetic vocals. These vocals are not created in any one language but is a work of fiction; often times, what I find in his music is a lot of incoherent mumbling / rambling. Whereas use of natural language allows someone to flow with the beat, to follow it, Colson’s made-up language – even under its barrier of digital effects – doesn’t sound quite as good as they could if he were to either use his own voice as an instrument, or if he were to team up with other vocalists in his field. There are a ton of talented musicians who are looking to collaborate, especially with someone whose beats sound so crisp. But what we have on the album is disappointing.
My other slight complaint from Laurent Colson is carry-over. I believe that the sound palette on “Split Sould”, while good, is very similar to what we heard on “Dark Celebration” – especially when it comes to the more witchy sounding beats. While they differ enough to be called their own songs, I do believe that some of the material found on “Split Soul” could have been on the chopping block as a quality-over-quantity call. I felt strongly about this when it came to tracks such as ‘Twin Soul Devotion’ and ‘Parallel Regenerations’. While the production work on the songs are great and they have a couple of elements that help them stand out (the crunchier bass on ‘Parallel Regenerations’ for example), they aren’t the best in Colson’s discography.
While I still heavily enjoy Laurent Colson’s music there are seams that need to be stitched within the project. Again, I know that Colson enjoys the synthetic vocals, but I find them distracting and not as good as what can be afforded from an actual singer. Colson has been expanding his sound palette, but it’s time to bring those songs sounding a bit generic in comparison back to the editing room. Nonetheless, what will be found on “Split Soul” will easily cater to the dark electronic fan. Dark synthpop, witch-house base, and a dreamy atmosphere hold “Split Soul” together. The fundamentals are solid as always. Still, a bit disappointed, but hopeful for the next release. Six-and-a-half out of ten.Jul 08 2022
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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