For those only familiar with Sylvain Chauveau
in an entirely instrumental form, the amount of vocals on this album may come as a surprise. The French multi-instrumentalist is comfortable using silence and space as effectively as any sound. The odd, unexpected noises placed low in the mix create different feels depending on the mood of the track in question. Chauveauâ€™s melancholic lines are again dropped in and out by swift production over notes used so poignantly that there is little danger of the minimalist style growing tiresome at this stage, allowing the noises space to breathe and resonate.The opening crackles of 'From Stone To Cloud', akin to a wartime wireless, give way to single piano notes and rich male vocals, slightly looped and almost clipping off the end of the preceding phrase- an effect set to be a prominent feature throughout the album. Ambient sounds litter the background, humming and buzzing until an abrupt cut-off before the titular lyrics, trailing off into creepily muted percussion to meld into the second track, 'Show The Clear And Lonely Way'.Â Closing with what sounds like a vinyl skip, the song soon drops into the intergalactic blips of 'The Unbroken Line', almost 2001: A Space Odyssey-esque.The blend between tracks makes Singular Forms
feel cohesive, as if conceived as whole entity, rather than piece by piece. Although the intro shows what interesting and complex things the Frenchman can do with the most obscure of sounds, the six minute composition lacks some of the charisma and personality inherent in his other work. Despite the reappearance of poetic vocals about open oceans and snow, panning from speaker to speaker, the absence of piano for the most part finds us in territory that may feel too abstract for a few, with drones in place of tuneful keys.This commendable new direction (or potentially divisive approach) is again present on 'Slowburner' - largely bare of any piano. Accompaniment for the vocals is concocted by loops and carefully placed cracks and blips, until all instruments stop abruptly, leaving only static noise.'Complexity Of The Simple' returns the album to higher ground, with glockenspiel and piano question-and-answer passages birthed in the opening bars circling and looping throughout. As the time between the instruments lessens, tension builds until an eerie yet melodic fade.'A Cloud Of Dust' spends its first three minutes celebrating the return of delicate, sparse piano, which is wordlessly introspective, especially in the higher, more dramatic sequences towards the close. Sparkling keys are present on final track, 'I Ascended', ending the composerâ€™s first song-based album in five years on a familiar note.