From time to time, we shine the spotlight on one SoundGym member by reviewing one of their tracks for our Music Spot feature. This time we focus on ‘Your Void’, by Vanessa Ondine.
‘Your Void’ is an album of dark fantasy – a musical equivalent to the films of Guillermo del Toro or the books of Neil Gaiman. The arrangements are often complex, featuring unexpected twists that betray Ondine’s love of Porcupine Tree. ‘Kill Me’ segues from gentle piano arpeggios into leftfield beats and back again, while industrial sound design elements build like scaffolding around the instrumentation before stuttering to a halt.
Nimble piano playing underpins much of the album; unsurprisingly, given Ondine’s background. The piano is accompanied by a rich variety of different instruments however; glockenspiels, strings, guitars and synths frequently feature. The most surprising features of the songs are frequently the sound design elements, adding fascinating and unexpected textures; those industrial elements on ‘Kill Me’, a repeating filtered figure on ‘Mdma’ that sounds like a train disappearing down a wormhole, the ominous sounds of a building electronic storm on ‘God Forgives’.
Ondine’s voice lies at the center of these atmospheric fairy tales. Delicate and girlish in places, it is a versatile instrument capable of real power too. In the past, we compared her to Kate Bush, and there are elements of her vocals that are reminiscent of Bjork too.
This is a varied album, but one that features a satisfying consistency of tone. Dark, gothic, and ethereal while still frequently retaining the capacity to surprise through sharp changes of tonal or musical direction. It is fascinating to witness Ondine’s capacity to create a world that bears her stamp over the course of half an hour.
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