Vuduvox – Vaudou électrique | Review by Vox Empirea

Belgian-French duo-act native from Flanders, created in 2012 by the mastermind Jean-Christophe Van Thienen aka J-C (voice / machines) and Olivier Thibaut (guitar), Vuduvox is an avantgarde project of great interest, endowed with consistency and a solid technical experience developed within electro sound. In fact, describing the past artistic biography of both musicians, it emerges their primary membership to Buzz, a synthpop / minimal electro / new wave quintet conceived in Lille in the early-80’s by the same J-C, who was the band leader / vocalist / mastering / songwriter / keyboardist / drum machine programmer / art-worker, while Oliver was the percussionist. Analyzing the album-releases of Buzz, they emerge many important remix collaborations provided by names of high reputation as Dirk da Davo, Implant, David Carretta, Millimetric, People Theatre, HIV + , the sound-engineer of The Young Gods called Bertrand Siffert, the mythical band Signal Aout 42, Void Kampf and Darkmen, then continuing with Pankow, Dolls of Pain, the founder of Renegade Soundwave Danny Briottet, David Harrow, NTRSN, Combat Voice and Bak XIII.

The subsequent improvements accrued individually during years they have contributed significantly to the musical growth of the two protagonists: J-C stands out for its activities on stage alongside major bands such as The Cassandra Complex, Implant, Parade Ground, 32Crash, Spectra Paris, Trisomie 21, Neon Electronics and Luc Van Acker, as well as Oliver is officially recruited as live-in drummer into the Belgian EBM / industrial projects Grandchaos and Signal Aout 42. The sharing the same electro guidelines and a productive interplay between the two artists, in addition to the need to transmute radically the Buzz’s identity and music, have allowed the realization of the platform Vuduvox, the sound of which is an advanced blend of Techno Body Music / electro-industrial / cyber-electroclash / cyber-post punker / retro-future wave elements.

The record productivity of power-duo currently enumerates “Sérénade Pour Un Renegat”, self-produced demo-release dated 2012, plus a serie of remixes formulated by and for the projects Implant, Neon Electronics, Signal Aout 42, Dolls Of Pain, Bak XIII, People Theatre and Synthetik Form, all this previously the finalization of “Vaudou Electrique”, the debut-album released in 2014 by the label EK Product, now described by Vox Empirea. As they have changed compared at the age of Buzz, the current Vuduvox still keep the same spirit and the same irreverent, cutting irony conveyed with anger especially towards the ‘power’ to which never surrender: the drafting of texts, sung entirely in French language, often shows connotations politically subversive, provocateurs, increasingly aggressive, critical and intelligently destabilizing. The full-length is mixed / produced by Vuduvox themselves with Dirk da Davo, – who’s both the front man of the famous Belgian new wave duo Neon Judgement and the only-act named Neon Electronics – in cooperation with the sound-designer Laurent Bergman, while the mastering process is entrusted to Len Lemeire, producer / remixer / vocalist and founder of Implant and, only for the digital version, to Maurizio Fasolo, the founder of the Italian EBM / industrial cult-band Pankow. The tracklist includes fifteen songs interspersed by twelve short spots called ‘vudubreaks’ which reproduce invariably the ‘Vuduvox’ logo, playing it instrumentally or through the contribution of the vocal guests Dominique & Michael Borchardt, Frederick Demeester, Maurizio Fasolo, Stephanie McQuaid & Andrew Harrison, Célina Nativel, Hélène Tavernier and Deadivo Trinity.

The album starts with the mentioned “Sérénade Pour Renégat”, an episode Techno Body Music / electro obsessively powered by circular midtempo sections of drum-programming and guitar roughness among which they stand out the cold punctuations of synth, the roche pronunciations of J-C with the backing vocals of the guest Gary Asquith, aka the front-man of the London band Renegade Soundwave. “Berlin” unleashes in its background a dense perturbation of guitar-riffs which, collimating against the uptempo beats and against hatches of sequencing, they strengthen the sonic force and the danceability of this Techno Body Music / cyber-electro / industrial obscured by harsh vocal tones and by the fluorescent glacially of keyboard. “Vudubreak 1” is a fast passage of electronic air that traverses fascinatingly the ‘Vuduvox’ word, introducing the next “Kamikazes”, a Techno Body Music / electroclash track rigidly sequenced by dry midtempo bpm’s of drum-programming on which vertices they rise solemn pads, electric guitar contrails, synth deadlifts and the low, stinging vocals of J-C. “Vudubreak 2” is a fleeting emission of interferences, loops and vocals hissing voices, while into the following “L’Usine” the drum-machine scans regular midtempo geometries that rhythmically support the acidity of guitar and the claustrophobic, tormented atmospheres built by the synth / vocals conjunctions, all for a ‘very clubby’ Techno Body Music / electro / industrial. The icy male-female intercalating of “Vudubreak 3” is combined with artificial noises, with the sampling and with a single, high-sounding guitar reverb, anticipating the next “Silex”, a Techno Body Music / electrotech / industrial song mechanically spelled out by drum-programming, which midtempo propulsions act as base to the chant whispered harshly by J-C, to the backing vocals of Ophelia Delusion, to the caustic mass of guitar-sound and to the exasperating, replicated micro-melodies of synth. “Vudubreak 4” is a murky interlacement of vocal sampling and alien frequencies on minimal beats of rhythm-machine and harmonious pulsing sequencer, as well as “Kennedy – Severe Gunshot Wound Version “, a Techno Body Music / synthpunker / industrial track, is littered with vocal-loops and energized by midtempo rousing drumming replications, all lethally sub-voiced by J-C and symmetrically innervated by the compact, excoriating synergy between electric guitar and keyboard flows. On the surface of “Vudubreak 5” they soar echoing vocal-effects quickly pierced by the metallized transit of an electronic vortex, preceding the inflexible Techno Body Music / electroclash / tech-pop sonorities of “Fascination”, built by midtempo drum-programming fractionations, leaden, acrimonious vocals, flagellated by tense electric guitar saturations and by robotic synth euphonies. “Bruit Blanc – Lumière Noire”, a Techno Body Music / electroclash / industrial song, it propagates flexuous, articulated downtempo drum-beats on which they are aligned hypnotically cycles of voice and, further on, the monolithic keystrokes of programming, the heartbeats devised by the guest Samuel, the corrosive guitar resonances and the essential keyboard schemes. “Vudubreak 6” is an ephemeral breath electronically within which, as always, it reverberates enigmatically the vocal-logo ‘Vuduvox’, while the next track entitled “Ils Descendront Du Train” it speeds its Techno Body Music / electrotech structures through danceable drum-programming markings, wrapped by torrential magma of electric guitar and irradiated by a colorless singing and by flashes of synth. “Vudubreak 7” is only a momentary, livid sub-percussive concatenation of sonic dilations which turn on an elementary rhythmic system, in contrast to the vibrant Techno Body Music / electroclash / industrial procedures of the subsequent “So Kalt”, under whose rapid uptempo percussiveness it rages an ‘iron and steel’ guitarism jointly with the J-C’s opaque vocalizations, adorned by backing vox sung by Ophelia Delusion and by the synthetic harmonies of keyboard. The temporary execution “Vudubreak 8” is simply represented by melodic sequenced impulses that announce the rhythmic midtempo synchronizations of “Charogne”, a Techno Body Music / synthpunk / cyber-electro track executed by hot guitar aspersions and faded, guttural vocalism, all completly dashed by metronomic midtempo drumming and adorned by the squared synth textures. “Vudubreak 9” is instead a slight vaporization of electronic matter suggestively caressed by feminine whispers, while the guitar forcing that dominates “Disco-Démolition” it merges with raucous vocals, with the midtempo drum-programming straights and with the synth verticalizations, evoking futuristic sounds to dance frantically. Industrial attritions overshadow suddenly the suffocated ‘Vuduvox’ vocalization: is what happens in “Vudubreak 10”, an interlude that separates the previous song from the next “Au Rythme Des Incendies”, a Techno Body Music / electroclash coldly sung by J-C among gritty electric guitar riffs, midtempo drum-programming automatisms and sharp keyboard modulations. In “Vudubreak 11” an android voice punctuates alphabetically the name ‘Vuduvox’ spreading fragments of electronic shocks, as well as the Techno Body Music / electrotech / synthpunk configuration of the following “Avec Toi” immediately catches the alternative dancefloor’s people making dance them without respite, all by repetitive midtempo drum-programming, by raging currents of electric guitar and by shining synth finishings. “Vu-Du-Vox (Part 1 & 2)” starts with disturbed extensions of vocal-sampling / noise-electronics continuing with an accelerated uptempo segment of drum-programming surmounted by massive doses of guitar energy, vocals gutturally threatening and by keyboard iridescences, in this ultra-danceable Techno Body Music / tech-pop, synonymous for vigor, rhythm and movement. The final chapter of the tracklist is “Vudubreak 12″, a minimal filament of sequencing within which the vocalist recalls specularly the epithet ‘Vuduvox’. Album of unconventional temperament,”Vaudou Électrique” is an explosion of sonic technology, from which artificiality we may highlight particularly attractive tactics and concepts. Vuduvox, today at the apex of their professionalism, they move with great ease in electronic territories, creating a style that integrates simultaneously messages of strong symbolism and powerful modulations like sonic cataclysms.

The incessant persistence of guitar and the exciting drumming they complement each other, communicating actively with grim, mono-dimensional vocals, interconnected with contaminants keyboard radiations. The equipments are then interpreted as living organisms, capable of materializing dynamic-rhythmic transmissions and essential counterpoints to dance and listen with total participation, while the lyrics take on the function of weapons aimed against all forms of social hypocrisy and prevarication. Can’t stop now the binomial J-C Van Thienen / Olivier Thibaut, deservedly considered as the most talented electro performers the new Era: Vuduvox. Only Vuduvox. Nothing other than Vuduvox.