The times don’t like the truth of the facts. So let’s hope that the writer Alain Damasio is right in asserting that art is capable, in a deeper way than science or information, of acting on our perception and ideas – a thesis that the author recently defended on television, during a debate on the imminent end of the world with the scientist Aurélien Barrau. This conversation inspired “Nouveau Monde”, the key track on Rone’s new album, where the two men’s voices resonate. No need to wait for the end of the world to wake up: “It’s just a question of consuming a bit less, damn it! It’s not the end of the world, is it?!” Rone is the name of Erwan Castex, an electro producer whose fifth album is entitled “Room With A View”, a real turning point in the French artist’s career. Rone’s fifth album, entitled “Room With A View”, was a real turning point in the French artist’s career. Based on a carte blanche offered to him by the Théâtre du Châtelet, Rone conceived this album around a show staged and choreographed by the Collectif (LA) HORDE, accompanied by 20 dancers from the Ballet National de Marseille. This new form of collaboration allowed him to explore the most sincere and profound aspects of his music. Nourished by the debates around collapsology and climate change, “Room With A View” gives food for thought on one of humanity’s greatest emergencies. “Room With A View” marks Rone’s return to his musical roots, as well as to the minimalist set-up of his first albums: pure electro and solo design, without collaborators. Despite this, Rone left his comfort zone and embarked upon a new form of artistic exchange. Production of the show and the album went hand in hand, complementing each other. “Room With A View” functions as a stand-alone album, while the final work intertwines contemporary dance and electronic music, aiming at something more important than pure sound experimentation. As soon as the Théâtre du Châtelet evoked this carte blanche, Rone went looking for the dance collective (LA) HORDE, especially for their “DIY” spirit, their political approach and their ease in getting ideas through the body. In France, the word “collapsology” is on everyone’s lips, referring to this school of thought predicting the end of the world as we know it. Large-scale natural disasters and the courage of a youth gathered around “Fridays For Future” alert us to climate change and urge us to take action. “Room With A View” takes up the topic. “I’m opening a discussion without wanting to lecture.” explains Erwan Castex. “We are all part of the problem, which means we should all be part of the solution. The show will ask more questions than it answers, but I’m comfortable with that.”
“Room With A View” was composed and produced in 2019, in nine months. Its first foundations were laid during a residency in the countryside, in the home of writer George Sand in Nohant. Rone made a habit of leaving his home, leaving his family and friends behind to work on new material. This time he chose the place where Frédéric Chopin composed a third of his work. Some tracks on the album make Musically, Rone illuminates what makes his signature with a new light, a new day, satisfying his early fans as well as electronica lovers. The melodic beats of “Ginkgo Biloba” coexist with tracks with openly more classical influences, such as Boards of Canada (“La Marbrerie”) or Aphex Twin SAW-era (“Raverie”), as well as rhythms stamped ‘euphoric dancefloor’ nestled next to resolutely contemplative synths. In this respect, “Sophora Japonica” demonstrates Rone’s outstanding talent for creating atmospheres, even if it means completely doing without drums. Elsewhere still, Rone revives the club energy of his album “Tohu Bohu” and integrates elements of dub. Everything goes in the direction of an adventurous and stimulating listening.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Rone redefines the notion of “organic” music as it permeates electronic music, from field sounds to voice recordings. Whether it was her child’s babbling, a debate between Aurélien Barrau and Alain Damasio, or the dance troupe rehearsing or talking about the show – the album’s writing being very much centred on machines, the music had to incorporate a very human touch and include the presence of bodies. Thus, “Esperanza” uses the dancers’ steps as a rhythmic starting point, while their voices form the chorus on the track “Human”. We find this idea of extended collaboration, as a group, through the visuals of the album. The title “Room With A View” assumes its opening and offers different directions of reading. Although Rone attributes a personal part of mystery to it, it nevertheless speaks of the way everyone looks at the world. Through our small screens or our social networks, we are all witnesses of it. Everyone has his or her own perspective on the world, and therefore the power to change it. This is the message that Rone wants to convey, observing the universe from his room.