Review “Live at the Nordic House” by MÄX LACHAUD / OBSKÜRE
Review by: Mäx Lachaud (nov. 2 2019)
“Still too little known, Nico Guerrero made an impression with the Vortex project founded with Sonia Cohen-Skalli in the early 1990s. Their first album, Eksaïphnès (Les Disques Du Soleil Et De l’Acier, 2000), laid down already the foundations for the frozen, cosmic and noisy universe that the guitarist / composer would explore later. Even if the duo is still active, it is solo that we find the musician for an album recorded in live conditions at the Nordic House in Reykjavik on Nov. 9, 2018.
Totally inspired by the cold atmosphere of Iceland, this album also pays homage to two essential artists: Coil, first, with a cover of “A Cold Cell” and the singer-songwriter Nico, whose specter is felt to barely veiled on “Clepsydra”. From this first title, we are also blown away by the amplitude of the sound – we must not forget that Nico Guerrero is alone in producing everything that we hear. The guitar, processed by numerous electronic filters, creates a very dense space, rich in harmonies. It can also come close to the organ and in this recalls the very recognizable playing of Justin Jones (And Also The Trees). It becomes a wall of echoes, sometimes cold and incantatory (“Clepsydra”), sometimes more epic and landscaping (“Blackburn”) or darker and threatening (“Montagne Inquiétante”). The pinnacle is reached with the piece of bravery, “Materiae Melancholia”, which closes the journey, evoking the devastation and always this persistence of the cold, again and again.
Cold ambient could be a good term to define this sound. At times, we also think of the Robin Guthries’s guitars from Cocteau Twins (“Ekpyrosis”) and the chant could be a hallucinated shoegaze version of Dominique A (“Montagne Inquiétante”). The whole is deep, close to the ceremonial, both abstract and emotional. We are therefore surprised when the applause rings out, bringing us back to a tangible reality. Nico Guerrero arrives at a certain gigantic sound with ultimately a fairly minimalist instrumentation. Hats off for this beautiful melancholy trip.” ~~~Mäx Lachaud
Review online (fr): OBSKÜRE