1. choanal imperforation
2. eustachian tube
3. not yet 1
4. kissing disease
5. meniere's vertigo
6. not yet 2
7. social phobia
8. vocal cord polypus
9. not yet 3
10. panic disorder
11. scoliosis + astigmatism


  total duration : 50'40

this album was composed in 2007 and was released by american label audio dregs in october 2008




This album is great; seriously, every note and melody is pretty perfect. The production is really slick as well, there is little to no evidence of humans having made these sounds, perfect time and technique. All of the melodies have this instant familiarity to them. It all sounds like something they would use on a Volkswagen or Ipod commercial.

The songs are made of deeply layered beats and melodies that act in counterpoint to each other, creating a really lush sound with lots of nice details to catch your ear with repeated listens. There is fairly prominent acoustic guitar plucking and abundant use of analog synth and drum machine sounds, as well as some actual drumming. The vocals are used very sparsely, they are practically non-existent. I would say that this is very reminiscent of some early Mice Parade and Album Leaf releases.

I am not sure that I am going to listen to this album years in the future, but it has this certain appeal to the overall pleasantness of its sound. I feel like I hear a lot of music like this used in commercial settings lately, which may be the main reason why I am a little apprehensive to wholeheartedly endorse this album. This instantaneous feeling that I am about to be duped into buying something I don’t need just because it is bathed in soft colors and tinkling sounds, however, is not the artists fault. So check this one out, it’s good, and if you are like me you would be wise to leave your overanalyzing at the door and just enjoy it.

8/10 -- Kevin Richards (4 August, 2009)


Melodium is too polite. Laurent Girard, the man behind the moniker, is a master of gentle suggestion and microscopic whisps of mystery. Girard consistently seems to be asking nicely for an audience, rather than demanding to be heard. It’s a trite analogy, but like the budding of a rather colorful flower in the middle of a forest, the melodies of Melodium need to be sought out by listeners with patience, an ever-rarer trait in the current musical climate ridden with flash-in-the-blog din.

From the sound of it, Cerebro Spin is an album that was made because Girard had to make it. If any of these tracks were rushed or frustratingly birthed to fill space, I can’t hear it. Every piece of this puzzle is significant to Girard in ways that those who don’t know him personally will probably never figure out. But consider the emotional impact of Cerebro Spin like hearing one side of a telephone conversation: you won’t get the whole picture, but the emotions of the present party are on naked display. Or, perhaps Melodium’s tender tracks are best approached as Pablo Neruda on poetry – the meaning that the beholder (or listener, in this case) derives for him/herself is more significant and affecting than anything Girard could have outlined in liner notes or lyrics.

One of the pleasant surprises about Cerebro Spin is that Girard is a deft weaver of whichever instruments are at his disposal. Kissing Disease features what sound like digitally synthesized flutes and horns; normally, this kind of “cheap” sound is difficult to seriously incorporate into music that doesn’t fetishize its stamp of artificial sheen. Yet, Girard slips them in and out as lead lines, buttressed by his ever-present acoustic guitar in a way that illuminates such cold sounds in a warmer light. Girard further softens hard percussion noises, such as the jungle-lite groove that pops in and out of Social Phobia, such that drum parts that would be commanding are relegated to an incidental presence, like rain on a windowpane.

There’s a singer-songwriter within Girard, and when he’s allowed out, the effect is an update on classic psychedelic futurists like early David Bowie, or even Donovan. Girard’s singing teeters a hushed line between vocals and vocalizing. When, on Vocal Chord Polypus, he repeats a refrain – ‘you can’t touch the bottom / you should go to London’, I don’t know what he’s talking about, but framed by glistening synths and horns, it somehow sounds like good advice. Not Yet 2 is the most traditional singer-songwriter song of the set, Girard repeating a minor-major resolution with lyrics that paint a picture of soul-searching – ‘you wanted to know yourself’ – slowly overtaken by synth horns. A beautifully warped take on indie-pop, it’s the best song Badly Drawn Boy never wrote.

As gentle and reassuring as Cerebro Spin can be, there’s a melancholic undercurrent here. Many of the tracks are titled after diseases and disorders – Social Phobia, Panic Disorder, Kissing Disease. Closer Scoliosis + Astigmatism has the saddest melody, with a woodwind (either synthesized or played; at this point it becomes hard to tell) weeping on loop and ghostly high-frequency staccato piano plinks overcoming what would otherwise be a triumphantly building drum track. Perhaps this record is a narrative of imperfections of body and brain, and that cover art does look somewhat like sperm entering a womb. These minutiae of meaning are, ultimately, left graciously up to the listener – Girard is just too polite.

David Abravanel


Ever since Melodium first proved his small genius, he has always stuck in my mind as being gracefully idiosyncratic. Melodium's recordings have never disappointed me. On his new album, 'Cerebro Spin' our man, from Nantes flirts with the compositional and recording methods of Ratatat, most evidently on 'Not Yet 1'. As if his little rhymes had already become signature tunes, they sound familiar and yet still new and fresh.

As depicted by the boomerang-like image on the album's sleeve, the music of Melodium evolves around circles of melodic electronica and returns to melody and composition. Gaining coherence on 'Cerebro Spin', Melodium sets about bringing a whole new perspective to the genre known as 'folktronica'. Wisdom had it that on 'Cerebro Spin' a fuller sound was needed. 'Social Phobia' is a prime example of a big dance tune. Yet, probably frightened by this similarity himself, Melodium continues to pretend that he is best at blending grand melody lines and minimalistic lounge electronica.

Melodium's electronic wells will not run dry but what had impressed me most is his lasting talent for writing gentle and vulnerable compositions. Some are songs, head and tail and all that conservative 'crap' ; others paint sketches in sound and together they progress. And whence the merry-go-round comes to a standstill, it is a very happy naptime.


Mit Abstand das beste Album von Melodium bislang. Laurent Girard trifft mit seinen neuen Tracks den Nagel immer auf den Kopf, ist leichtfüßig wie ein Engel unterwegs in seiner folkigen Elektronika-Welt und ja, die Elektronik ist eindeutig auf dem Rückzug, auch wenn ich mir sicher bin, dass hier alles aus dem Laptop kommt. Dennoch klingt alles nach schüchternen Bandproben, die er mit seinen zwölf Händen immer abends absolviert. Und neben dem Drumkit brummt der Heizlüfter. Sehr schön ausgearbeitete Ideen, tolle Songs und die Flöte bringt mich um. Danke dafür! Es ist doch so: Wenn jemand die Ruhe findet, so ein Album aufzunehmen, die Ideen schon da sind, bevor der Rechner an ist, dann kann ihn nichts mehr aufhalten. Gut so.


Dans ce monde stressant, plein d’incertitude, il y a des repères qui rassurent : Noel, puis les voeux, puis la galette des rois, puis les crèpes de la chandeleur, puis les oeufs en chocolat à Pâques. En musique, il y a des artisans qui ont un rythme de croisière : ainsi donc nous chroniquons ce qui est déjà le quatrième album de Melodium. La recette est inchangée : "j ’ai enregistré tout seul (comme d’habitude) et chez moi (comme d’hab’ aussi), explique Girard. J’ai utilisé des samples d’instruments (violoncelle, clarinette, flute...) et ai assemblé des mélodies note par note, ce qui est un peu laborieux. " Laborieux pour l’artiste certes, mais charmants pour les amateurs de détails sonores que nous sommes. "Sinon j’ai joué moi-même de la guitare et des claviers" ajoute l’artiste. Voici donc une musique moitié organique, moitié électronique, qui a le charme des boites à musique de notre enfance et un petit côté "comptines du futur" qui n’est pas pour nous déplaire. Allez, merci pour ces petites musiques idéales pour se laisser bercer, et à l’année prochaine Laurent.

Jean-Marc Grosdemouge


Laurent Girard (for Melodium is he) markets his music as electronica with elements of pop and folk, but don’t for one second believe that his thirteenth full length is yet another foray into self-consciously hip and typically anemic folktronica. Instead Cerebro Spin is awash with warm melodies, refreshing instrumentation (flutes ahoy!) and a craft that’s as undeniable as it is impressive.

“Choanal Imperforation” is a startling and beautiful opener, mixing flamenco guitars, lonely brass and trip-hop drums over a labyrinthine and wonderfully exotic composition. It is a true ode to joy, a tribute to those rare moments of utter bliss that pepper our lives. And, best of all, it brings to mind none of the figureheads that are name checked in almost every review here on the old Silent Ballet. Melodium is defiant in his originality, which gives rise to many unexpected aural delights here, such as the strange, contemplative “Eustachian Tube”, or “Kissing Diseases” mix of elegiac piano lines and illegible spoken word verses that sees it fall somewhere between an eels interlude and Kid A-era Radiohead.

Occasionally the odd track can whiz by undetected, but it’s these kind of songs that usually reveal themselves the most over time and with repeated listen, so while “Meniere’s Vertigo” isn’t something that one can drown in instantly, its hypnotic, delay-ridden guitar line will remain in the head for hours afterwards.

Girard even finds time and inclination to include a bizarre but enjoyable folk piece, “Not Yet 2”, which weds barely there indie-pop vocals to an insistent acoustic guitar to memorable effect. Typically, this moment of pop fluff is immediately succeeded by the hyperventilating drums and cello loop of the excellent “Social Phobia”, once again epitomizing Melodium as a master magpie, and perhaps in possession of some sort of attention deficit disorder.

The general levity of the album is definitely something to take into consideration before you sit down to listen. Almost constantly upbeat, but never to the point of being twee, only on the closing “Scoliosis + Astigmatism” does any kind of underlying melancholy penetrate the light. Cerebro Spin is definitely an album one has to be in the mood for. The closer does prove that should any tragedy or heartbreak befall Girard, he’s got enough talent to convey those dark emotions as comfortably as he does the light. But for now he could have titled this record Happy Music For Happy People without any trace of post-rock irony.

Thankfully, his happiness is contagious. 7/10

-Peter Brennan


EtherREAL continue avec un très grand plaisir sa recension quasiment exhaustive des nombreuses sorties du prolifique Melodium, qui réussit l’exploit d’évoluer de disque en disque sans jamais que la qualité baisse d’un iota. Seconde sortie de 2008 pour le Français, après My Mind Is Falling To Pieces paru sur la structure compatriote Arbouse Recordings, il retrouve pour ce magnifique et subtil Cerebro Spin le label américain Audio Dregs qui a déjà eu le privilège de sortir deux de ses albums, Anaemia en 2004 et Flacana Flacana en 2006. Mais là où ces disques suggéraient une inflexion dans l’inspiration du musicien, s’orientant vers une folktronica imprégnée de guitares douces, le dernier en date allie parfaitement cet univers poétique et enjoué, parfois chanté (Vocal Cord Polypus) avec un certain retour aux sources d’une electronica délicate et allusive (Kissing Disease).

L’album débute avec une pièce formidable, Choanal Imperforation, petit bijou mélodique posé sur un tapis de guitare ouatée que viennent secouer de douces perturbations rythmiques. Morceau complexe et évolutif, ce titre d’ouverture indique d’emblée que nous tenons ici une oeuvre marquante de Laurent Girard, qui renoue donc avec les paysages électroniques soignés et intimistes qui firent le bonheur de ses premiers disques - ce qu’il avait au demeurant déjà proposé avec l’excellent Music For Invisible People il y a deux ans - et nous offre ainsi des climats plus poignants et moins dépouillés que sur, par exemple, le cependant très réussi Flacana Flacana. Eustachian Tube poursuit exactement dans la même veine extrêmement accrocheuse, offrant une triple couche rythmique et mélodique impeccablement onctueuse. Parmi les chefs-d’oeuvre du disque, on épinglera aussi Social Phobia, où de lentes et amples cordes dialoguent avec une mélodie primesautière. Certains titres se font très introspectifs et contemplatifs (Panic Disorder), non sans obliquer parfois à mi-course vers des paysages plus aérés (Meniere’s Vertigo). Et l’au revoir de Laurent ici, le superbe et emblématique Scoliosis + Astigmatism, ne donne qu’une seule envie : pousser à nouveau sur "play" pour se laisser envoûter encore et encore...

Cerebro Spin, album riche et raffiné, peut sans conteste servir de parfaite introduction à l’univers très riche de Melodium, pour ceux qui viendraient à le découvrir aujourd’hui. Ce disque marquant est une impeccable réussite et un nouveau jalon essentiel dans l’oeuvre du Français.
Gilles Genicot


Giunto all’undicesimo disco ufficiale, Melodium ha chiuso un cerchio immaginario aperto quasi dieci anni fa con l’inizio della sua carriera. Lentamente transitato dall’indietronica attraverso il classico cantautorato folktronico, il suo stile ha assorbito con il tempo tendenze, flussi e strutture armoniche peculiari. Un repertorio di intensa intimità, il suo, fondato su melodie fragili e flemmatiche.

Con “Cerebro Spin”, Laurent Girard è riuscito a mettere insieme l’album perfetto della sua discografia. Il musicista esprime tutto il suo campionario con soffuso narcisismo mai fine a sé stesso, tirando fuori dal sacco introspezione personale (già evidenziata nel precedente “My Mind Is Falling To Pieces”) unita a sensazioni dal sapore bucolico. Lo stesso artista rivela che quest’ultima opera è una fra le più ambiziose mai realizzate, confermando la teoria per cui il recente periodo di attività compositiva sia una fase di definitiva transizione verso qualcosa di nuovo rispetto al passato.

La scrittura classica esercita un ascendente molto forte, raggiungendo livelli di eccellenza (un beat granitico sostiene “Choanal Imperforation” che sfocia negli intrecci di “Eustachian Tube”), l’uso del piano spesso prende il sopravvento tinteggiando quadretti elettro-acustici dalla perfezione certosina (“Not Yet 1”, “Kissing Disease”, “Panic Disorder”), l’essenzialità spesso gioca a nascondino con il ritmo (“Meniere’s Vertigo” risplende all’infinito).
La scelta di differenziare la proposta nell’arco di sole undici tracce favorisce la scorrevolezza, nonostante l’atmosfera sia quasi identica lungo tutti i cinquanta minuti. Scorie del passato fortemente elettronico risorgono con delicatezza (gli incastri fra archi e progressioni IDM di “Social Phobia”, i flussi organistici di “Not Yet 3”), vere e proprie canzoni folk prevedono un futuro non troppo lontano (“Vocal Cord Polypus”, “Not Yet 2”, “Scoliosis + Astigmatism”).

Protagonista di un percorso dagli sviluppi inaspettati, Melodium è ora atteso al varco della prossima prova: la nuova trasformazione della sua musica, che continuerà a guidare i nostri sogni verso l'ennesimo mondo incantato.

Alessandro Biancalana