This Colder article was written by Ben Malkin, a GIGsoup contributor
After an approximate ten year absence from releasing material, dance musician Marc Nguyen Tan – better known as Colder – is back with a dynamic set of experimental, electronic tracks. In 2005, Colder released the record ‘Heat’, which featured a wide range of influences from many different dance and electronic artists, but the execution wasn’t so strong; the repetitive pacing of the album made it feel a bit flat and tedious at times with no lasting impression. Since then, Colder has been involved in many other projects – mainly remixing and DJ work – but only recently decided to hit the studio to work on a new record of his own.
On ‘Many Colours’, Colder resumes that previous flat feeling in areas, but on the whole the compositions and the overall flow have a bit more of pulse this time. The songs are still fairly slow, the lyrical themes are well-presented and downtrodden, and the album itself is actually paced quite well. More songs have something to offer, like the unique production style of the title-track, the first song on the album. The track features multiple percussion pieces that flicker across the two speakers, creating a sound that is really nice on the ears.
And coming back to how improved the pacing is, hearing the keyboard chords at the start of ‘Turn Your Back’, straight after the drumbeat of previous track ‘Another Year’ is quite satisfying and memorable. Speaking of memorable, the track ‘Midnight Fever,’ featuring Owlie, is just that. The song has really sweet texture, a haunting vocal delivery, and a necessarily simplistic I-VI chord progression.
The musical influence mostly on display is Kraftwerk, or Krautrock in general; mainly because of that eerie vocal delivery, presented over quintessentially European beats and textures. That being said, nothing particularly new or fresh is achieved with this homage. ‘Stationary Remote Anger’ is a good example of this, some of the attention to detail in the background is very fitting, almost like something from Kraftwerk’s ‘Trans Europe Express’, but the interest dies down after a while, and the ongoing feeling of dread that lies within the music and lyrics gets a little bit humdrum.
Speaking of attention to detail, there is actually a lot of it in the album, but they’re quite faint, and Colder might be better at throwing things right into the listener’s ears, rather than trying to be subtle. On his previous albums, there was a fairly common emphasis on basslines, catchy basslines at that, and you feel like if that was something he decided to use as a basis for ‘Many Colours’, the result would’ve been a more engaging, memorable listen. For about half of the album, the recurring dark lyrical theme is carried out, and by carrying this core mood out, the album still manages to feel repetitive and directionless, despite the pacing being a big improvement on previous Colder albums in places.
There are a few enjoyable tracks on ‘Many Colours’, and the particular haunting quality works well for these key tracks. But that feeling overstays its welcome after a while, and with fewer interesting moments as the album moves along, the listenability suffers. Colder is a good enough producer, some of the synth sounds he lays down can be fairly ear-grabbing, but there is a certain amount of creativity missing, which unfortunately means it’s difficult to go crazy for Colder after a ten year absence.
‘Many Colours’ is out on the 6th November via Bataille Records