Experimental classical artist Rïga unveils his new project. Consisting of three long-form pieces, Reganèl is an epic and emotionally heavy listen. Simon Tucker reviews.
First….a warning. To step inside the world of Reganèl you must be emotionally prepared. Through its various twists and turns Reganèl clutches at history and the various up/downs of the human condition. To embrace the album and to allow it to envelop you is a brave yet essential ingredient in its enjoyment.
Reganèl means “L’ardeur du soleil (the heat of the sun)” in Occitan, Rïga’s grandfather’s native language and in the creating of the album Rïga states that:
“Sometimes cold places are warmer than shiny ones, sometimes people with closed faces have more to give than we think.”
It is this duality that shines through the most during Reganèl’s running time. Opener Enluminé breathes into life at a genteel and quietly swelling pace. It grows larger piece by piece, second by second. Strings add a melancholic feel before they change shape and become almost nightmarish and Scott Walker-like. Rïga’s mastering of pace and texture reveals itself early on as Enluminé breaks down just at its most grandiose morphing into a grimy gothic industrial techno piece that leaves enough light, melodic synth parts riding above it that it does not descend into unpleasantness. It reminds of the work of Chris Carter..and that is always a good thing.
Again, Rïga switches tact and we are sent skipping forwards on a bed of rapid, tribal percussion that elevates the mood and turns Enluminé into a piece that now seems so full full of optimism and hope. The fact taht you don’t even see the change coming is wonderful and explains to us that we are in the hands of someone very composed, precise and adventurous.
Second track Incandescent mirrors Enluminé’s pacing but belongs in an alternative universe to its predecessor. Incandescent shows a flicker of GY!BE mood and build and is introduced via a bed of fractured and wordless vocals that swim around the main piece before we are sent back into the industrial metallic smash percussion and the wailing sound of what seems to be a guitar being strangled to death or one that is being encouraged to drop every ounce of what it has inside on the canvas. Then comes the drop. We are placed onto the ground with the pristine piano lulling and consoling. This moment provides the beauty of the piece and whilst it is brief it is wonderfully effective. As we have now become accustomed to, Rïga slowly starts to turn the screw again allowing Incandescent to become a clap-click-smack of ritual music. Brooding and confident. A march to climax…
Reganèl closes with the title track and it is a send off that the whle album deserves. Reganèl’s brief (in comparison to the other two tracks) running time does not signify a lack of depth or an emptying of ideas. In fact the opposite is true as Reganèl is a majestic piece of music. It is definitely a more upbeat piece of music than its predecessors as it rides in like Radiohead’s Seperator from The King Of Limbs album (an album which is slowly emerging as one of the bands most influential) all crisp and fluid snare snaps and riding groove before Rïga displays his playful and innocent side and allows the track to skip merrily to its climax singing love peace and understanding as it disappears around the corner.
Reganèl is a joyful and thoroughly rewarding listen. In its brief running time it allows for Rïga’s sense of wonderment and need to experiment to unfurl and what is particularly enjoyable is that Rïga allows enough space for the listener to impose their own mood on the album. A lot of what you will take from Reganèl is what you bring to it which shows us that Rïga is an artist who trusts his audience. Measured, intricate, philosophical, and spiritual Reganèl is an album that comes thoroughly recommended.