An illustrator and librarian by day, Montreal artist Fumerolles (Frédérique Duval) uses keyboards, effects boxes and homemade synth modules to craft a uniquely organic and benevolent form of electronic music. ‘Nuit jaune’ is her debut EP (released digitally on Kinnta records in 2018) and we love it so much that we broke our regional mandate and reached out to ask if she’d be interested in a limited cassette release. Not only did she agree, but in talking with Frederique and her partner Christian Richer (Element Kuuda), we discovered a world of shared interests and inspirations, in particular a fondness for 70s punk, DIY instruments, woodworking, library music, and an ongoing admiration for the work of the late Norm Chambers.
Recorded during the heatwave of 2018, ‘Nuit jaune’ is a fittingly hazy collection of synth miniatures, reminiscent at times of Tangerine Dream, Cluster, and of course, Panabrite. What sets it apart is the gentle assuredness of Duval’s arrangements and playing. Tracks like ‘Cyclique’ and ‘Ptero’ unfold leisurely, spreading out slowly into waves of synthetic delight. On ‘Pulmo’, a lone synth voice croons gently to itself like a lowing calf, while ‘Sismographe’ follows a gentle arpeggio deep into a forest of 70s string machines. In the end ‘Nuit jaune’ feels less like a new release and more like a lost gem from a bygone age.
‘Fumerolles has…a deep capacity for harmony and layering that is deceptively simple; her music fits like a glove and becomes an instant sugar rush. The strings and trickles of Sismographe are bolstered by crashing waves of percussive tangs. Pulmo bubbles and fizzles like a UFO attempting to jettison into orbit, but always falling short. The buzzing synthesizer loop of Ptero takes a moment to reveal itself, hidden behind keyboard fantasies and other cresting percussive smatterings, but it feels like a thought line to a future. Un charme, the shortest cut of the EP, is especially thoughtful in how it throws itself from lazer haptics and ambient synth-lines into a whole buzzing cacophony that sucks you in.’