I became familiar with Ensemble Economique back in 2010 when they released their album Psychical, with Bryan Pyle (formerly of Starving Weirdos) combining world music with a very intriguing soundtrack type of feeling. Even though the original incarnation of the band with their fascinating influences was monumental, Ensemble Economique has crossed into darker territories. Pyle has reduced this act to its essential, exposing its core and steering the wheel towards a more experimental and dark version of itself, reminiscent of the earlier releases of 4AD.
The trippy beginning of “Your Lips Against Mine” sets thing off in the most suitable way. The intro of the track slowly creeps up on you with its slow progression and ethereal melodies, allowing you to escape reality. As the addictive vocal lines come in, Ensemble Economique secure the hold that they have on you, and from that moment forward you will be unable to escape their dark maze and their unearthly trance. And to make things even more interesting, the band uses excellent guitar effects to introduce “Make-Out in the GDR,” and is capable of awakening a mixed feeling of grandeur and melancholy.
From that point on things start to get even more mysterious and threatening. The melodic side of the band is slowly being left behind and a more twisted and obscure vision comes forward. The mesmerizing, experimental start of “Hey Baby” is pure sonic goodness and the addition of electronic drums makes things even colder and more mechanic, with Ensemble Economique turning more towards a Tim Hecker sound in this instance.
That is when the real darkness is being unleashed. With the band taking things off in a very mysterious way in “Fade for Miles,” abstract structures start to appear. Ensemble Economique starts to send bursts of sound your way, with the band soon coming in to break these intangible patterns, only to give place to darker and more sinister moments. The musical background that Pyke is able to conjure is very dense, and it does not allow for much room to breathe, but that is the beauty of it all. And so this album reaches its peak at that moment, when “Fade for Miles” blends into “Never Gonna Die,” marking the most menacing and intense moment of the album. The unnerving atmosphere and the brilliant use of synths really gets under your skin, and as “Never Gonna Die” merges with the title track, the closing of the album could not be any sweeter.
As the years pass Ensemble Economique is maturing. From the mystical world music influences to its most experimental minimalistic days, Pyke has found a very unique manner of expression. So if you are interested in dark and gloomy music, then Melt Into Nothing will be perfect for you.
8.5 / 10
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