Music Reviews
My Mind Is Falling To Pieces

Melodium My Mind Is Falling To Pieces

(Arbouse) Buy it from Insound Rating - 9/10

Since his first 7" release in 1999, Frenchman Laurent Girard has been quietly carving out a niche and making a name for himself in the world of ambient electronic music. Released on a multitude of different labels (Static Caravan, audio dregs, Autres Directions in Music) under the name Melodium, Girard's catalogue is as sizeable as it is impressive – My Mind Is Falling To Pieces is his twelfth CD album, and audio dregs are imminently about to release number thirteen.

And while there are hordes of bearded laptop composers scattered throughout Europe's towns and cities, Girard is particularly noteworthy for combining gentle ambient soundscapes with more human elements, such as folky acoustic guitars and his limited yet charming vocals. Another important ingredient is humour; 2005's La Tete Qui Flotte featured a track titled Greg Davis > Craig David, which still raises a smile to this day. Although its name would suggest otherwise, My Mind Is Falling To Pieces is no different in this respect.

Although sufficiently impressed to award it a 7/10 rating, I noted that 2007's self-release Vilnius lacked the personal touch that had helped to propel his earlier works beyond those of his contemporaries. At the time I wondered whether Girard might be running out of steam and ideas.Thankfully My Mind Is Falling To Pieces has quashed these doubts in the most emphatic fashion: it's arguably his strongest recording to date.

Key to the album's success is the way in which Girard's voice, guitar work and electronic compositions are moulded together. It all sounds seamless. Previously certain movements within tracks have sounded clumsy, with programmed beats struggling to keep time with harshly strummed acoustic guitars. Here, however, Girard's delicate finger-picked guitar patterns dance happily over the whirling synths and sparse beats. Tracks like the superb folk-infused finale Death Will Take Me Away From This World represent a real leap forward in terms of composition and performance. The faint tape hiss of old has been replaced by a new professional sheen, but this step up in production values has not come at the expense of character.

My Mind Is Falling To Pieces confirms Laurent Girard's place at the top table of European electronic music. Latecomers to the Melodium party would do well to start their obsession here.

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For more information about Melodium please visit his official website or his MySpace. You can purchase this album over at the Arbouse Recordings site.