Compact Disc (CD), Vinyl LP
French artist Laure Le Prunenec refuses to be confined to conventions. “I have always experimented with my voice, across genres, from jazz to electronic music, without any restriction other than my own appreciation for the music that is being played,” she said in a 2016 interview. Her two main gigs support her claim: As a vocalist in the doom metal band Öxxö Xööx she wails and growls behind stormy riffs; but her work as Rïcïnn is something else entirely, positioning her in a long line of female vocalists who refuse categorical boundaries. Le Prunenec’s voice can recall Diamanda Galás at her most chaotic and avant-garde as effortlessly as it channels the haunted ethereality of Kate Bush and Dead Can Dance’s Lisa Gerrard. On Nereïd, a follow up to 2016’s Lïan, Le Prunenec finds new ways to draw upon that feminine power.
Musically, Nereïd is shadowy and ominous. Atmospheric mosaics of sound are wrapped in silky melancholy, and exist inside a kind of sepulchral darkness. While occasional elements recall Le Prunenec’s doom metal background—particularly “Doris,” which reaches a tumultuous apex of fiendish growls and crashing cymbals—the mood here is mostly somber. Songs are shrouded in a shadowy, delicate gossamer, and the ghostly whirlwind of Le Prunenec’s voice serves as the album’s focal point. From the primitive chants and violins in “Nereïd” to the funereal organ in “Missäe,” Rïcïnn channels the elegance of the gothic through raw emotion. “Söre” feels like it was written to echo through a candle-lit cathedral, while “Psamatäe” could serve as the opulent and foreboding soundtrack for a vampiric bloodletting ritual; both songs are extreme, both are spiritual. From tumultuous noise to eerie silence, Nereïd explores all shades of the dark.