The din of technology is everywhere in the Western world. There is barely a place in this country where your ears will be spared the sound of keyboards clicking, computers humming, cellphones ringing, and cars roaring and sputtering down the road. It’s a world of drones and beeps and snaps and manufactured noises that didn’t exist a century ago. The music of Propergol y Colargol is a lot like the modern American world, where the listener finds themselves totally immersed in icy, heartless sounds. There’s a dark, impersonal world out there, and this duo embraces that with their electronic palette.
Formed by two French musicians hoping to explore new sonic territory, Propergol y Colargol succeeds in their hopes of making music that is cerebral, sharp, and cold. More interested in creating ambience than they are with creating songs, the duo rarely gives the tracks much shape (though all the album’s best moments are when the tracks are more than just noises), and are content with letting things just buzz and drone and distort themselves.
And the majority of the release is just that — seemingly unstructured washes of mournful sound that soothe, scratch, scrape, and spin your ears. “No Particular Destination” opens with guitar distortions and white noise that disguise the subtle beauty of a constant arctic organ drone. “Aunties Annies” mashes and splices up keyboard chords with screeches of Autechre-ish noise, along with a snapping drum beat. “Ass.Music.Etna.Zo Club” is all eerie keyboards and pitches that bend and twist and invert themselves. And so forth. Unapologetically harsh at times, it’s not particularly pleasant stuff, but for what it is, it’s really quite good.
But it gets better when they add in some melody. “Il Covo Club” is minimal — long keyboard drones that alternate between two notes and a thin drumbeat — but effective, and one of the best tracks on the album. “Forum Stadpark” is very good as well, with crystalline keyboards and a genuine beat. “Benjamine’s Spasm” sounds like an echo of a Savath+Savalas song, and “Hitchhicking Non-Stop” sounds downright dark, with a haunted strummed guitar.
Melodic or not, either way, this is some pretty good stuff. Dark and cold at times, it’s music for poorly lit places and spaces, and will work as a nice compliment to the glow of your computer screen in your darkened room. Turn the lights down and realize that there’s plenty for your ears to savor in this high tech world — if only it was all like Propergol y Colargol.
Written by Richie DeMaria.