Le Seul Elément - Meradiam

Le Seul Elément has packed Meradiam full of expansive, Gothic washes of sound which alternate between rumbling and ramped up, proto-electro and a private kind of Heavy Metal chamber music.


Le Seul Element is something else. When we saw him play at Incubate festival in 2014, he spent most of his time behind a back-lit screen; his silhouette framed by a constantly changing light. It was a weird gig and intense, but we wanted more.

Somehow his singularity as a performer translates onto this record. For one the song  titles look weird; as if deliberately misspelt. Jancee, Dem , Essist, Tehee, Heol and Meradiam. They could mean anything and nothing; they could also be an important key to understanding the record. Who knows? This sense of drama and mystery is also present throughout the album. Meradiam is a record of strong moods and murky emotion undercurrents. It's "heavy".

But never a difficult listen. Le Seul Elément has packed Meradiam full of expansive, Gothic washes of sound which alternate between rumbling and ramped up, proto-electro and a private kind of Heavy Metal chamber music. You do wonder who the artist is addressing. There are bits that sound like a slowed down rave - 01 03 47 could be a happy hardcore track; albeit one that has been crafted from Tetraethyl lead and Cadmium. Regardless of my guesswork, you will enjoy this record; with these clarion calls of rich mid-tones and rusty, grating counterpoints.

And despite the strangeness of there are things on Meradiam that sound familiar. There are bits that take from records like Associates' Fourth Drawer Down (such as Heol, which reminds this listener of Q Quarters) or some of the more cosmic elements of Krautrock; T-Dream's Atem and Alpha Centauri (the floaty, heavenly drama and space of the title track has a feel of Froese for sure). Or a monkish, hermetic take on John Maus. But there are chords, and there are harmonies, and there are pleasing passages of glitchy very Gothy electrodrama (Tehee) that could (or should) be the music ferrying visitors through Reims Cathedral. Nothing to be worried about.

Best is saved to last with the brilliant Essist; an emotional psychodrama that is up there in the Magma stakes. I don't think they share the same worldview, and certainly not the same sound, but the source of the music's drawn from the same well. A really great record. Check it out.