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Borgne – Y Award winner

by Santiago Puyol at 13 April 2020, 3:40 PM

Experimental and defiant, "Y" is an album filled with darkness that creeps under your skin. The eighth release by Swiss Black Metal and Industrial outfit BORGNE finds this project pushing forward and expanding on their electronic sounds, still carrying a penchant for Avant-Garde songwriting and ambient passages. The seven tracks here all go over the six minute mark (with just one exception narrowing closer), and one of them even goes to the mammoth length of seventeen-and-a-half minutes. These are expansive, sometimes free-flowing songs, filled with atmospheric breaks and heavy, “wall of sound” rages.

Opener "As Far As My Eyes Can See" builds upon layers of organs and synth, with demonic whispers in the background and a soft electronic pulse making for an ominous introduction to the record. It explodes into frantic percussion and melancholic, classic Black Metal riffing. A chaotic yet emotional track; powerful dissonance. Around the 3:40 minute mark it sets into a nice groove with a Gothic feel underneath, blasting into a massive crescendo. An Industrial-tingled outro bleeds into next track.

"Je Deviens Mon Propre Abysse" bring the Gothic undertones to the forefront, with its synthesized choruses. The keyboards by Lady Kaos are masterfully layered, blending with each other nicely, almost orchestrated. A groovy track with Industrial breakdowns, nasty riffing and catchy percussion. Overall, the synth tones have a bit of a DEPECHE MODE gothic melodrama. The last third of the track gets into almost danceable territory, with shades of PERTURBATOR and GOST.

Psychedelic textures and a sick, hypnotizing bassline make "A Hypnotizing Perpetual Movement that Buries Me in Silence" live up to its name, taking the listener into a sonic journey that leaves them perplexed. A soft, almost ambient break around the three-minute mark, an example of the sudden left-turns the songwriting takes here. For over nine minutes and a half, the song ebbs and flows marvellously, with several sections. The track uses repetition to build tension but no section overstays its welcome. Some clean and effect-laden vocals show variety in this regard, feeling at times reminiscent of both Martin Gore and Roland Orzabal.

Beautiful and dramatic acoustic guitars and piano appear on the intro of "Derrière les Yeux de la Création". The song explodes in another synth-heavy, classic Black Metal passage. A piano ostinato makes the backbone of the track for its first half, with a haunting melody. The second half goes full Post-Rock territory, akin to 65DAYSOFSTATIC or GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT, with a harder edge and Shoegaze-y “wall of sound” approach. Everything drops into noise and gothic ambience for the last two minutes and a half.

"Qui Serais-Je Si Je Ne Le Tentais Pas?" has an explosive intro with some blast beat action, ripping in your ears from the very beginning. It settles after that, going into a meandering, slower middle section that feels a little overlong. Still, it is a nice song, even if a little safer in comparison to the more experimental work of the previous two tracks. Instrumental "Paraclesium" goes next, an expansive and psychedelic, nine-minute ambient interlude. It features some really sci-fi sounding synths and has a soundtrack quality. Certainly makes for an interesting palate cleanser before the final, epic closer.

Being 17+ minutes long, "A Voice in the Land of Stars" feels like its own entity. It is a sprawling, progressive track with several sections, almost like movements on a symphonic piece. The synth arrangements have a theatrical, gothic and symphonic feel, layered and mildly complex, while the guitar work is tasteful and textured. The song plays around with syncopation and time signatures, and though it never goes crazy or technical, still manages to make the song more dynamic and mischievous. Describing every section would make for some boring reading, as there is a lot to unpack and deserves some attentive listening. That being said, pay attention to the lovely surprise on the final three minutes. A perfect closer to the record, all the elements featured previously come into play.

BORGNE deliver a near masterpiece this time around with "Y". Main architect behind the project’s sound, Bornyhake describes himself as “composition mastermind”, and he certainly deserves the title for the way he builds and creates the tracks on this record. An artisan of songs. The seamless transitions in between tracks deserve their own mention, as they make "Y" feel like a full-album experience. It needs to be listened to as a whole.

Make no mistake, the production here is raw and rough, but it fits the music perfectly and never works against it. It goes loud when the moment asks for it, and quiet when needed. Instruments are audible and discernible most of the time, but when it needs to go full wall of sound, it goes there. A wonderful record for sure.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 7
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. As Far As My Eyes Can See
2. Je Deviens Mon Propre Abysse
3. A Hypnotizing Perpetual Movement that Buries Me in Silence
4. Derrière les Yeux de la Création
5. Qui Serais-Je Si Je Ne Le Tentais Pas?
6. Paraclesium
7. A Voice in the Land of Stars
Bornyhake – Composition mastermind
Lady Kaos – Keyboards
Onbra – Live guitar
D – Live bass
Record Label: Les Acteurs de L’Ombre Productions


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