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CryptoChroma – NUMB

by François Zappa

CryptoChroma is the new project of Jan Vinoelst, founder of Cape Sidereal and one of the components of the Belgian darkwave duo Messier 39, who released an EP for the Belgian label Wool-E Discs (publishers of Enzo Kreft, Jean-Marc Lederman, The Breath of Life and so many great artists). Before, they had self-released the Coil EP and appeared in the compilation Statistics Mean Nothing When You’re On The Wrong Label that, by the way, we possess. But let’s come back to the present: CryptoChroma’s first work is titled NUMB and although the first CD edition is already sold out, you can listen to the album and buy it digitally here.

As it can be read in the inner notes of the album, NUMB is a journey through the contemporary man’s mindset, touching themes of anxieties, rejection, despair, greed and even a post-apocalypse scenario. The album starts with “Sleepparalysis”, the first track whose lyrics seem to portrait anxiety at the same time that some oppressive rhythms helped by the deep voice, manage to draw that emotion. “Arches” commences noisily and is less oppressive than the previous track but is way scarier and more disturbing with a sound close to the minimal synth genre. “Anonymous Contagious” is an instrumental track that starts very classic (in the classic sense of the world) but mutates, bit by bit, becoming a very cinematographic piece as soon as the guitar and the synths arrives. The song would fit perfectly in a Dario Argento’s movie. The BPM increase with “More”, with a funny beginning that makes us think of 8-bit music and that is completely danceable. The voice, for this occasion is a bit industrial and manages to describe human greed.

“Bitter and Twisted” is more dramatic and passionate, a big contract with the previous track. We really liked the arrangements of the songs. In “The Orient Express”, Violet Candide (mitra mitra, Peppy Pep Pepper) sings: it’s a very powerful track that reminds us of DAF, both for the singing in German and the rhythm, although even being only in the sixth song, we can observe some personal touch in the way of writing synths lines. “In Her Eyes It Lies” is a nice instrumental track with an industrial beginning, a heavy rhythm and an ending full of celestial choirs and a very beautiful piano. Despair is, according to me, the protagonist of the dark “Slowly Sliping away”, although the voice delivers a very passionate and powerful performance. The album finishes with an humour note about Coronavirus titled “The Bat of Wuhan” with a very 80s minimal and synth pop sound that proves that even in a very dark album, things can be taken with humour..

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