Boomkat Product Review:
Experimental guitarist, sound designer and occasional Mika Vainio collaborator Franck Vigroux returns to Raster for an album steeped in 1980s nostalgia, influenced by Polaroid colors, VHS aesthetics, electro pop, and Vangelis.
According to Franck Vigroux, the 1980s was a "terrible time". I suppose we have to agree, even though it was a while ago and we were (mostly) quite young. To Vigroux, the era is best remembered via its most recognizable hallmarks, like the dystopian flicker of Ridley Scott's enduring "Blade Runner" - at the time a complete flop. Vigroux has mapped out his approximation of the 1980s aesthetic on "Magnetoscope", the latest in a proposed series of releases that includes 2020's "Ballades sur lac gelé". If you've heard that album, you'll have an idea of where this one is directed sonically - yet again he employs a tight palette of analog synths, drum machines, and Sähkö/Raster glitches. But on this one, Vigroux is careful to make sure his inspirations are rendered accurately, so we're immediately hit with electro-pop rhythms and synths, and coaxed into the atmosphere with the kind of romantic synthwork that Vangelis was eating off for years.
Opener 'VHS' does exactly what you'd expect, to the point where if you told us this was a horror/sci-fi soundtrack made in the mid-1980s and released it on Death Waltz we'd probably believe you. The glitches might be a little edgy but who are we to doubt, when Charanjit Singh was making acid ragas in 1982. Elsewhere, 'L.A.' sounds as rainy and windswept as the "Blade Runner" dystopia, and comes served with the exact Yamaha CS-80 sounds you'd expect to hear, backed by rolling glitches and twitchy kicks because it's Raster, so why not. It's on 'Station to Station' that Vigroux starts to wander outside of the popular nostalgiasphere for a second, dirtying up the electro-pop formula and capturing some of the loose masonry weight of his noisier material. Elsewhere, tracks like 'Cassette' and 'Nuit' offer spine-tingling minimalist horror vibes, while Vigroux flexes his ambient muscle on 'Steam', maybe the album's most moving track.