Boomkat Product Review:
Using software, movie samples, MIDI scores and Instagram snippets, Belgian artist Céline Gillain makes hierarchy-free avant pop that's refreshingly pulverized.
'Mind is Mud' is Gillain's second album, following 2018's 'Bad Woman'. "The mud is well alive in all its weirdness and unclarity," she says. "At times, it even glows in the dark." And 'Mind is Mud' is nothing if not bizarre, assembled using a DAW process the artist explains is more of a collaboration. "I don't really write, I copy paste and then I arrange and rearrange," she explains. But it's what she's copying and pasting that really matters, and from the first few notes it's clear that her sources are different from yer average left-leaning pop producer's.
Gillain is motivated by "cheap sounds", and gathered her source material from social media, TV and movies and downloaded scores, assembling them into bumpy, coldwave-inspired backdrops for her voice. And even her lyrics are collaged, made from fragments of texts "from various contradictory sources". The result is a suite of fractal pop that sounds like an engine turning over but never starting; Gillain's music has the momentum of pop, but its aesthetics launch it into another dimension.
'High Definition' is cybernetic acid techno, but takes a u-turn from the dancefloor early on, skipping haphazardly into an operatic choral central section that's as unexpected as it is gorgeous. Punctuated by tyre screeches and biting sounds, 'Peer Pressure' is '80s dance pop that sounds as theatrical as Robert Ashley's downtown gear, and 'They Play Games' is a carnivalesque house groove that's sensual, collapsible and devilishly funky.