Album Review: Balloons by Masomenos; Electric Pickle Gig This Thursday


Balloons (Welcome to Masomenos)

"Masomenos" is Spanish for "more or less," of course. The acclaimed French production pair Masomenos chose an appropriate moniker. Their sound inhabits that blurry "more or less" area where genre-bending hybridized electronica is more or less techno, more or less IDM, more or less glitch, and more or less any other number of hard-to-define subcategories of electronic music. 

The one thing that's sure about Masomenos is that they color way outside the lines and are possessed of a decidedly quirky and wildly inventive sonic style very much their own. 

The dynamic duo of Joan Costes and Adrien de Maublanc formed in Paris in 2006 as an experimental multimedia collaboration meant to combine idiosyncratic musical, visual, and interactive elements. Expanding the aural aspect of this project, the pair eventually went on to launch the 

Welcome To Masomenos

 imprint. With that, they've released a number of provocative records that have caught the ears and praise of such international EDM luminaries as Ricardo Villalobos, Loco Dice, Cassy, and Seth Troxler in the last couple years.

Masomenos' new Balloons album, due out on October 25, is a whopping 13-track collection mixed seamlessly into a kaleidoscopic narrative. It's full of enough intricacy and multicolored textures to be perhaps a tad too demanding for the average listener used to dancefloor-friendly formula. But fans of Masomenos' dreamlike sound collages and irreverent unpredictable flair will not be disappointed.

The album kicks off with "Sansoula," a jittery, obsessive-compulsive number that overlays fluid rapid-fire vocal snippets over an insistent rhythm and a single, contemplative chord. "Classico," an immediate standout, emerges from an ominous reverberating percussive buildup and descends into classical piano and cello melodic strains. 

"HAHAHA" could hold its own on a dancefloor, with a subtle jacking groove, whirlwind of hazy abstract vocals and watery guitar licks giving it the faintest hint of funk. "Chili Con Chanme," another highlight, interweaves thick bulbous basslines and a driving tech-house beat with salsa-like piano riffs.

Finally, album closer "Lil'M" is a brooding haunting piece of atmospheric techno with a deranged vocal that sounds like Consuelo Velázquez singing "Bésame Mucho" on mescaline. 

Balloons is a rich and thought-provoking record that merits repeated listening to digest the sum of its parts, so if you like to listen outside the box, we highly recommend you take this one home.Don't miss an opportunity to experience Masomenos' one-of-a-kind avant-garde electronic stylings live when they stop by the Electric Pickle for an exclusive performance on Thursday night.    

Listen to "HAHAHA" below.

Masomenos. 10 p.m. Thursday, August 26. Electric Pickle, 2826 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Age 21 and up. 305-456-5613; electricpicklemiami.com

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