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act 151 · vromb · rayons · cd / 12" vinyl

klinikum, premier générateur, éclairs, rayons, la rayure, boulevard, perpendiculaire, non-réel, circuit imprimé, deuxième générateur.

hugo girard's (a.k.a. vromb) input has grown enormously during the last few years. it started in 1993 with the release, 'jeux de terre' (now re-released) and then continued with only a few releases over next six years. but since 2000 there have been at least two records a year. in 2003, after his first split release with szkieve and a 10" vinyl, the fourth full length vromb album on ant-zen, 'rayons' (rays) will be released on cd and vinyl.

girard's intention on 'rayons' is to translate several kinds of rays into music - ranging from sunbeams to optical rays. so, 'rayons' can also be seen as an aural sight-seeing tour. the 'speed' factor is that of a person moving (whether by foot or in different vehicles). this movement was transformed into rhythmic patterns. imagine the aural equivalent of taking a walk during a thunderstorm ('éclairs') or feeling the sun peaking through a clouded sky while window shopping ('boulevard').

all sounds were generated with analog and digital synthesizers. the listener might believe that they are hearing modulated samples but this is not true. it is once again, an example of girard's virtuosity in creating 'naturalistic' soundscapes with pure electronic equipment.

for the images on the album cover, girard gave the photographer, alain gauvin the basic audio tracks for inspiration. the final musical structure on 'rayons' is based on inspirations from gauvin's pictures which were taken in the montreal area.

so close your eyes, let yourself go and feel the rays coming out of your speakers. also, look forward to vromb's live appearances in europe and canada at the end of this year!

vromb discography. 09.2k3
jeux de terre. cd. batarr / tesco. 1993
transmodulation a.m.p. 7" vinyl. ant-zen. 1995
le facteur humain. cd. ant-zen. 1996
périmètre 3+10. 10" vinyl+3" cd. ant-zen. 1999
emission pilote. cd. ant-zen. 2000
emission pilote. 12" vinyl. hymen records. 2000
rotation. 7" vinyl. klanggalerie. 2000
interlüder. cd-ep. pflichtkauf. 2001
episodes. cd / cd+5" vinyl / 2x12"+1x7" vinyl. ant-zen. 2001
mémoires paramoléculaires. cd. hushush. 2002
le tourne-disque. 3"cd / 10" vinyl. ant-zen. 2002
le pavillon des oiseaux / le monorail (split w/szkieve). 7" vinyl. hushush. 2003
locomotive. 10" vinyl. angle records. 2003
rayons. cd / 12" vinyl. ant-zen. 2003
jeux de terre. cd / 2x12" vinyl. ant-zen. 2003

official vromb website:


vital weekly
canadian hugo girard continues his voyage into futuristic soundscapes of cold steel drones on his 6th release under the name vromb. having existed in a decade the brand of vromb separates from the main part of the other artist in ant zen recordings camp with his ambient approach to technoid sounds. if not totally beat-less the rhythmic textures seem so absorbed into the hypno-sphere that the overall expression is drifting rather than up-beat. as the title of this album reveals, the music are concentrated around different sorts of rays translated into sonic expression. everything from sunbeams to optical rays have been generated and manipulated in the vromb-laboratory of analogue and digital synthesizers. what characterizes "rayons" compared to the earlier albums is the exclusion of the french spoken voice of hugo girard, which normally has a certain impact on the overall sound of vromb. in addition to that the rhythmic texture on the album seem further suppressed giving more space to the ambient sounds of oscillating frequencies, static noises and pulsating electronic signals. ambient listeners not familiar with vromb should give the album a chance. the experience is quite spectacular! (nmp)

his sixth album, "rayons" is something of a strange release for vromb, since it exists outside of any "auratory" experience or audio ballet concept and stands firmly on its own as an isolated and complete work. the inspiration this time comes from the desire to transform light into sound, from sunbeams to lightning, so as to create organic landscapes in our mind, through the use of synthetic sound. the results vary in effectiveness, on this purely conceptual level, as the feel of vromb's instrumentation is, by its very nature, cold and distant. taken outwith this strange, and slightly clichéd concept, however, the album becomes immensely enjoyable. after the sprawling, disparate and often bland works on "episodes" (his last album for ant-zen), it is a relief to see vromb return to focussed and innovative compositions, once more pushing his sound further into a science-fiction future. gone are the repetitive rhythms and cycling pulse-waves of before and in their place now stand a form of click 'n' cut music, using microscopic noises and tones around smooth, deep drones. the difference to regular glitch music being that all the sounds are generated live from vromb's equipment, with no sample manipulation involved. the end result is extremely impressive. there is also a greater sense of overarching dynamics present on "rayons", as the album builds in pace and density from the fragmented and near silent start of klinikum to its apex on the centre track la rayure, which is as close as the album comes to the classic vromb sound. from this early peak of club-friendly, razor-edged precision the album then dips down into equally rhythmic, yet more subdued pieces such as perpendiculaire, a dub-infused work of snapping beats and swells of live electricity. while this may sound very akin to the work on "episodes", there is a noticeable expansion in the atmospherics, which have a liquid warmth that reminds me of biosphere's "cirque" album. as "rayons" winds down to its conclusion, the tracks once more become fragmented and increasingly drone-orientated. small smattering of vromb's trademark rhythmics are there, but only discernable in tiny pulses in the omnipresent electric tones as he explores the possibilities of generative errors to its fullest effect. in an act of leitmotif, the album finishes as it began with a passage of near silence as this round-trip sightseeing tour is brought to a close. this album certainly restored my faith in vromb who, over his last few releases, has failed to excite me in the same way as works like "interluder" or "emission pilote". the change of direction, depth and concept on this album has, i feel, rejuvenated the act proving that even after 10 years, he can still sound ahead of his time. (gavin lees)

one of the things that you have to admire about the whole of vromb's output is its interconnectedness. tracks meld seamlessly into one another as various hypnotic patterns emerge from a background of white noise. indeed, it often seems as though the best method for listening to vromb's back catalogue would be to copy the whole lot to minidisc and proceed to listen to it on random, or perhaps in the order suggested in the liner notes for episodes. speaking of liner notes, the artwork for _rayons_, namely processed photographs of montreal, is particularly good, providing at least some small modicum of value for those of us who choose not to be soul-sucking leeches. in any case, with _rayons_ hugo girard has succeeded in assembling a wonderfully cohesive full-length release. the watchword for vromb, as always, is 'hypnotic'. the listener is lulled into complacency with relaxing, breezy ambient sounds before the patient introduction of sharp, precisely-placed rhythms. the beats themselves often sound less like percussion and more like electric shocks as girard deftly plucks the strings of the listener's consciousness. the net effect is often dizzying, disorienting, and so characteristic of vromb as to be uncompromisingly original. where _rayons_ seems to surpass much of girard's previous output however is in its pure listenable appeal. girard treads an extremely effective middle ground between the most pleasant and challenging moments of his discography, producing his most subtle, elegant and recommended work to date. (drew)

hugo girard is a busy man. while his vromb project has been in existence for a decade now, it has only been the last few years that he has become prolific with his output. 2003 saw three releases by vromb with rayons being his fourth full-length record. the focus in this record is on light, on what rays of light can sound like when converted into a musical experience. "klinikum" rises and falls with swooping curves, modulated tones which peak and ebb like the movement of light across a living room floor. the sounds on rayons are completely fabricated on digital and analog equipment. girard isn't experimenting with taking concrete data from some sort of scientific equipment and converting this signals to music; the tracks of rayons are built by hand and are thematically structured to leave an impression of a visual experience on the listener. and so the ebb and flow of "klinikum" is like watching a time-lapse film of light patterns moving across a floor. there are beat patterns to some of these tracks, a sensation of movement which corresponds to the pace of the listener. "éclairs" is a rendition of a thunderstorm. while you might stand under a tree and watch the stabs of lightning for awhile, when the rain starts to fall -- light glittering off the individual drops of rain as they come down -- you will consider better cover from the weather. the storm will follow, lightning breaking the sky behind you, the shining curtain of rain advancing upon your heels. "rayons" interjects some spoken voice bits (hmph, i guess not everything is sample free) into a scattered cut-up style that moves from beat landscape to washes of sound before vanishing in a buzzing hash of chattering noise. "la rayure" stomps through the room like a fat beam of white light, a brilliant pulse of pure energy who incandescent flashes leave trails of sparks on your retinas. "perpendiculaire" feels like you are riding an infinite conveyer belt, humming past broad windows which allow the light to spatter you in wide stripes. you can close your eyes and still see the light and dark patterns playing out against your eyelids. "circuit imprimé" chatters like sunlight sparkling off the water of a lake. you can feel the chop of the waves against the bottom of your boat, rocking you back and forth, while the scattered light dances across the watery landscape. the closing track, "deuxième générateur," is gentler than the preceding tracks, filled with undulating waves of soft noise and the whirring pulse of an oscillating tone. the light of "deuxième générateur" is man-made, colored by our grip on the prism, and less permanent than the brilliant light from the sun. this light is powered by machinery and, as the power dies, so does the light. girard touches upon night with this final track, as the tones and the rivers of sound fade out in a rising note of panic and apprehension, you are left in an environment bereft of light. girard's approach to crafting the music of rayons is creative and innovative and, ultimately, it is his muse. you don't need to know that the impetus of the tracks is an effort to reconstruct light events on a musical scale. vromb's style of ambient music -- flush with glitch and electronic beats -- is engaging and always listenable. but knowing how and why he makes the songs he does adds a level on enjoyment. instrumental music isn't just meant to be noise in the background; it should also engage your brain. rayons is twice as fascinating if you are willing to dream along with it. excellent. (mark teppo)

connexion bizarre
"rayons" is the most recent album in the 10-year musical career of canadian musician hugo girard who, in many levels, has become a reference in the noise, ambient and experimental genres. this latest vromb album is certainly easier to apprehend, one could even say more conventional, than the previous album "episodes" but not as much as the seemingly playful 3" "le tourne-disque". as an ambient album, "rayons" is very un-intrusive and does not 'require' any attention, it just 'is there', becoming noticeable only on occasion in short, subtle flashes and then fading back into the background. the intricate and subtle sound constructions are almost flawless, as if they were millimetrically studied down to the last detail in their conception. according to promo/press material, the concept behind "rayons" is the description of rays of many kinds of light in a musical form, in an attempt to translate visual impressions into audio, switching the senses and maybe achieving a synesthetic effect. however, i feel that defining ambient albums can sometimes work as a self-fulfilling prophecy as the listener will end up hearing and conjuring the concepts suggested in the description or even by visuals in the cd booklet. "rayons" can indeed convey the impressions described in the promos and in a brilliant way, depending, of course, on the listener and the degree of suggestibility. in listening to "rayons" i couldn't help noticing that frequently i was remembered (or imagined i remembered) different kinds of light, in an almost 'static' way (as if time had stood still), the 'light' changing with the environment: from abandoned cityscapes to empty, dusty amphitheatres. all this, while focusing on the music, that is. if not, "rayons" becomes ambient music: melting into the background and surfacing occasionally, conveying impressions in a much more subtle and imperceptible manner.

depuis 1993 et jeux de terre, vromb n'en finit pas de tracer sa route, en marge de tout rattachement à un genre ou à un autre. le mot "originalité" est le premier qui vient. c'est vrai qu'il est ardu de trouver d'autres formations similaires partageant le même art du traitement sonore poussé à l'extrême. ici, c'est un travail de recherche sur les nombreuses formes de rayons existants à l'état naturel ou technique, afin de les transformer et les interpréter musicalement. comme il est souvent souligné, la musique de vromb n'est pas destinée à être propulsée par des murs d'enceintes. le meilleur moyen de profiter pleinement de la complexité et de la profondeur des travaux de hugo girard reste encore le casque. avec des bruits, on fait des ambiances. avec des ambiances, on fait des morceaux. et avec ces chansons, on fait des albums. voilà comment résumer pour les profanes. electroniquement parlant, vromb a depuis longtemps fait ses preuves. chaque nouvelle production reprend la même recette, mais le résultat final est toujours different. pour rayons et comme d'habitude, c'est l'hypnotisme qui préfigure. un hypnotisme puissant qui cependant ne dégage aucune agressivité, aucune prise directe de l'espace ambiant, et une forme poétique d'émerveillement, presque juvénile pour l'infiniment électronique univers de l'artiste canadien. si l'on écoute de plus près, on s'aperçoit que technologie et vie organique sont extrêmement proches, si on les compare sur un plan purement auditif. l' un para”t plus froid parce que moins fluide, moins arrondit. et pourtant, vromb machine vivante, mouvante, pensante. la machine se distrait... parfois le ton est à la liberté, comme klinikum, terrain de jeux d'une multitude de drones et ronronnements mats en tout genre. le groove lourd et lent de la rayure tente de percer sa coquille de vertige, tandis que non-réel s'étale de son ambient électrique comme une vague parcourant le sable de la plage. et puis l'excellent perpendiculaire, rythmé et sirupeux, dans un style "vrombesque" ou les deux "générateurs", battis en briques de souffle, craquements et tension électro-magnétique, pourrait presque devenir soporifiques, tant ils inspirent le calme et le confort. curieuses sensations... hugo girard a manifestement une vision bien à lui de la musique expérimentale. en tout cas, celle-ci est honorable puisque communicative. il suffit juste de se laisser aller. pas de panique, la machine s'occupe de tout.

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