Dark and foreboding without being too on the nose about being spooky/scary, “Forme noire” from the French electronic musician known as volcan gets an incredible amount of mileage out of a one measure long arpeggiator riff.
As the fourth track from 2015’s Thysia album progresses, layers upon layers of ominous analog synthesizers build relentless tension along with a simple but compelling 4/4 drum beat. Each new layer introduces a melody with a harsher timbre until the beat suddenly drops away, leaving the listener with just the central arpeggio and several melodic layers fading into the distance.
This track straddles several subgenres quite effectively – from synthwave to techno, hauntology to Berlin School electronica. The tracks from the rest of the album also effortless span diverse electronica approaches to create a unique sound equally at home in the club or in a film soundtrack. If you close your eyes and listen to this track you might picture the Stranger Things opening title sequence. Keep in mind, this track from volcan predates the show by at least a year.
The Thysia album (along with an excellent remix version) is available on BandCamp at: [https://volcan.bandcamp.com/album/thysia]
When he’s not drinking coffee until his heart explodes, Chris Frain produces and performs electronic music under the moniker Pattern Language. His EP, Total Squaresville, is available from Happy Robots Records (UK) at: https://happyrobotsrecords.bandcamp.com/album/total-squaresville