French artist Sylvain Milliot will release his first album under the name Véhicule on Friday. Le Temps du Chien is a detailed, carefully assembled combination of acoustic and electronic sounds. Neither purely ambient nor new classical, it offers the listenability of the former and the refinement of the latter.
It sounds too advanced to be a debut. And sure enough, Milliot says he has developed his approach to composition and improvisation scoring plays presented by the French theatre company Moteurs Multiples.
Milliot incorporates synthesizers, piano, pump organ, turntables and a variety of other objects and instruments in his work.
“I record a lot of stuff. I slice it, cut, mix or loop samples,” he says. “After that I try to combine the elements in a compositional approach. I think sampling is the most important thing in my process. I sample my own stuff or I sample vinyl, field recordings, etc.”
That process is a reflection of Milliot’s love of experimental artists like Michel Chion, Pierre Henry and Luc Ferrari. Véhicule is clearly the work of an artist conversant in a variety of avant-garde traditions.
But Le Temps du Chien is a more organic listen than Milliot’s quote would suggest.
“I like to use electronics and acoustic sounds,” he says. “When I choose piano or pump organ, it’s just because the sound is awesome. I like to introduce some electronic elements to create a strange feeling or to give another dimension to the sound.”
“Voilà là,” for example, features a Swedish instrument called the nyckelharpa, paired with computer-generated clicks and glitches.
“The instrument is classical, or traditional, but the process is not,” he says. “Listeners will find elements of western music traditions and folk music. But, also, noise, jazz and ambient styles. I don’t decide to compose in a modal, tonal or atonal way. It just comes like that, when I play.”