ambient dark ambient electronica Folktronica melantronica review singer songwriter vocoder

QUINQUIS – aer Review

Sinister angelic electronica for tense times.

What does QUINQUIS sound like?

Sinister angelic electronica.

The review of QUINQUIS – aer

Following on from QUINQUIS’s stunning debut album ‘SEIM‘ earlier this year, ‘aer’ feels like a companion piece to the album that expands around the bleeding edges of ‘SEIM’. The Breton singer-songwriter places the voice front and centre in this brooding six-track EP. I gave a wry smile when I saw the album tagged as melantronica on Bandcamp as it’s a perfect descriptor.

QUINQUIS photo by Richard Dumas
QUINQUIS photo by Richard Dumas

‘aer’ balances meditative and ritualistic sensibilities across the release in different ways. Often QUINQUIS’ voice is leading a swell of vocal and synth drones or fluttering clouds of noise that lean towards a melody without giving it fully. With the opening track ‘Deredeo’ we have ominous electronic plinks and industrial scrapes or shrieks gently poking at the choral aura of QUINQUIS’ voice. Whilst the vocals are gloriously ethereal and angelic (often with a hint of distorted vocoder trailing behind them) the music feels opaque. Even with the bubbly acoustic guitar and pretty twinkles of ‘Tres’. Here we have a beautiful melody being undercut by a sinister bassline that creeps up like a stalker on the listener.

Elsewhere the purging ritual side translates to ambient gues. ‘Plac’hig Eusa’ is a captivating vocal-led treatment of low distorted vocal drones and haunted main melodies. ‘Puzuilhan’ is more witchlike. The gothic piano and ethereal organs and synths that hide behind the piano create a dense atmosphere to choke on. Dark celestial ambience takes over ‘Duer’. The French-tinged apocalypse is both beautiful and haunted – underscored with birdsong. The more beat-focused ‘Take My Breath Away’ feels like Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith on a downer. The tracks are both beautifully crafted and have a detuned emptiness to them that I adore.

If you loved ‘SEIM’, you’ll love ‘aer’. If you are looking for mystical electronica with a heavy splash of ‘sinister angel’ to proceedings then QUINQUIS is your musician. It’s rare to have an artist straddle folk, synth, ambient and ethereal darkness so perfectly. The music feels unique and like it’s about to go off into a fit of rage at any moment and yet it never does. For me, QUINQUIS’ music is all about the tension that’s never unleashed. It stays pent up inside and toys with the tension instead. It is unusual in the best way and deserves praise for never taking the obvious route. Enthralling.

Recommended track: Deur

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