Stardust NYC & Highline Ballroom Present
How do you even begin to describe Savage Sinusoid? Anyone familiar with the previous works of Igorrr - the brainchild of Gautier Serre - will know that to even try is impossible, while those newly introduced will find that a smorgasbord of adjectives cannot adequately convey the invention, verve, passion, playfulness and genre-smashing glee he effuses at every turn. "From a young age I wanted to listen to music with no boundaries, to find a band which had no limits. I never found that band, so I decided to make that music myself, and when you're a teenager and you like electronic music, death and black metal, Balkan music, classical, baroque and Indian music and you want to make everything join together, but you have zero money and zero opportunities, you find a way to make it happen. Electronic music was initially the only option for me to express my musical ideas," he states, having turned legions of heads in that scene since self-releasing debut collection Poisson Soluble in 2006. Over the subsequent decade, as his abilities developed and the cult of Igorrr grew, Serre broke free of the electronic niche, incorporating more and more live instrumentation in his works. This was most fully realized with 2012's Hallelujah, but as strong as that record was, Savage Sinusoid lays waste to it - having taken a full four years to develop, track and mix. "Doing good metal, good electronic music, good Balkan music and good baroque music along with all of these other ideas and elements takes lots of time. There's a lot to learn along the way, and mixing them together is something else entirely. 'Savage Sinusoid' is an album without samples, one hundred percent of what you hear was recorded in the studio, and every little thing you hear, as microscopic as it might be, has been thought and rethought, made and remade millions of times to be sure I achieved my personal vision of 'perfect music'."
Initially influenced by the likes of Meshuggah, Chopin, Cannibal Corpse, Bach, Domenico Scarlatti, Taraf de Haidouks and Aphex Twin, traces of these artists can be found littered across his discography, but Serre has never been interested in remaining static or merely recycling ideas, and his work has dramatically evolved accordingly. In recent years, Igorrr has also become something of a collective, rather than the work of one man alone, which has further broadened the scope of his music without sacrificing integrity. While Igorrr's output may be initially challenging to some, Serre has no intention of baffling or alienating potential listeners. "I just want to make the music I love, without asking myself if it's gonna be too complex or too far from what people like. I want to make the music which has sense to me, with no restrictions, like a big party with metalheads, electronics nerds, classical and baroque-heads and gypsy violinists getting drunk and joining together to bring the best of every genre. It might be a bit challenging sometimes, but that's not the aim. It's very logical and natural music to me, so I don't really see when it's challenging and when it's not." Still, he admits that the Herculean task he set himself when working on Savage Sinusoid felt like trying to "juggle a million different balls at once. The more you get into any kind of music, the more you realize how little you know." While he draws from a plethora of genres, preserving the richness of all of these is paramount to him, stressing that the deeper he ventured into each style, the strength, nuance or frequency of each note was amplified, and to allow any of these to be diminished would be detrimental to the music itself. "Take into consideration Baroque and all the geniuses who composed such a piece of musical history. Think of what they created back then and how we still use these today - musical notation, the piano and the harpsichord. Now imagine that you also love death metal, black metal or traditional Turkish or Romanic music, trip-hop, 70s surf, classical guitar, opera, drone, doom, breakcore. All very different rules, feelings, sounds, history and instruments, but you dive in and soon see why it's so awesome."
To realize Savage Sinusoid as a completely sample-free record, Serre reunited with vocalists Laurent Lunoir and Laure Le Prunenec, and collaborated with more musicians than on any of his previous releases. While remaining the primary songwriter, Serre maintained an open-minded approach, taking on board suggestions made to him - his intention always to make the best possible album. Electronic manipulations, accordion, saxophone, sitar, harpsichord, mandolin and strings sit comfortably alongside ruthless blastbeats - courtesy of drummer Sylvain Bouvier - chunky riffs, death grunts and soaring operatic vocals, and as chaotic as this might sometimes seem, there is no lack of heart behind everything thundering from the speakers. When it comes to vocals, Serre sends the tracks out to vocalists with an outline of what they should record, though giving them space to adapt them as they see fit, with further revisions made once in the studio. For Savage Sinusoid, alongside Lunoir and Le Prunenec, Serre recruited Cattle Decapitation's Travis Ryan's on "Cheval", "Apopathodiaphulatophobie" and "Robert", and as is evident in the approach to everything Igorrr does, the most important aspect of the vocals is the feeling behind them. "When it comes to metal screams and the operatic vocals, I have no idea what the individuals are saying. I'm only focusing on how it sounds and not what it means. It's about the language of the heart instead of the language of the brain - plus, they are writing the texts in their own language, so I do not understand the meaning, if there is one." The album title strongly reflects the nature of the music - the 'Savage' element needing no explanation, while 'Sinusoid' - defined as a mathematical curve that describes a smooth repetitive oscillation - refers to the experimental purpose of the music. "This is not pop music made with a commercial goal, it's like research, a musical experience. Looking at it on a grander scale, there are also parallels that can be drawn with string theory, which unites opposing scientific concepts as to how the universe works - if you're interested in digging into that side of things!"
Just like Igorrr's other albums, words will always fall far short of being able to convey the inventive magnificence of Savage Sinusoid, and only through exposure can this be truly appreciated. Having realized his youthful dream of music without boundaries, Serre has been rewarded by finding a legion of the likeminded, who have embraced and taken his music to heart. Like any musician he hopes that this following will grow, something that seems inevitable in the wake of Savage Sinusoid. "My music is very personal, and I'm always stoked to see people get into it and understand what I have created. To take over the world with the crazy ideas that I developed alone in my little studio was something I never expected, and when you get on the other side of the planet, and you meet people who know your tracks by heart, it's unreal."
Spotlights is the Brooklyn-based married couple of Mario and Sarah Quintero, both formerly of Sleep Lady, whose 2012 album So Long Lonely Ghost was produced by <span class="text_exposed_show">Aaron Harris of Isis.</span>
In Spotlights, the Quinteros summon a supreme sound, equally heavy and dreamy. A tar-pit sludge-rock foundation is blanketed by layers of shimmering shoegaze. Their debut full length Tidals was released on Crowquill Records in the spring of 2016 as a follow up to the synth laden, doom-pop EP, Demonstration. Tidals' songs rock hard and memorably, bringing to mind hints of bands, from Failure to My Bloody Valentine to Godflesh to Smashing Pumpkins and beyond.
Spotlights has been handpicked by Deftones to support the band on two weeks of its summer U.S. tour for 2016. Followed up by a second national run in September with If These Trees Could Talk.