Review: Nicholas Godin’s cerebral & purposely muzzy second solo LP, Concrete and Glass, is out now!
By: Jay Burgin
Nicholas Godin, the co-founder of the electronica French duo Air, released his 2nd solo album, Concrete and Glass, on January 24th. The diverse ten track album is characterized by the push and pull of its firm ambient pulse and soaring heavily-stylized vocals. Featuring artists such as psychedelic soul singer Kadhja Bonet and Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor, Godin invites us to rove with him across a strikingly familiar yet disorienting sonic landscape. From the resonant ache of its space rock psychedelia to its quasi-pop vocal production, Godin is largely unemotional, relying on his noetic sensibility to draw in the listener.
Concrete and Glass is much more structured and upfront than his Bach-inspired, subtle debut solo release, Contrepoint (2015). Hypnotic flair, high-end-led arrangements, transfixing lyrics, and crafted-synth boosts prove to be the bedrock of his method that, most of the time, is sure and solid. Song sellers of this album’s merit lie in the crunchy, sensual auto-tune of “What Makes Me Think About You” and the funk-tinged “The Foundation” that features vocalist Cola Boyy. The latter was the second single from the album (the lead track being a late 2019 release, “The Border” ), and was accompanied by a mysterious sci-fi music video shot on 16mm film by director Greg Barnes, who shares that “the synth–led, ethereal momentum of the track felt so out-of-this-world and intrepid all at once - the concept of mankind exploring space fell into place almost immediately, and the excitement of creating a sci-fi visual for the song stayed with me throughout the whole process.”
Godin does not avoid the sounds that drew so many devout listeners to the late ‘90s Air releases, and this record surely echoes the intense artistic direction of the EP Premiers Symptômes (1997) and Air’s debut full-length Moon Safari (1998). For this solo project, however, Godin continues to build his own fanbase with a steady and sonorous sophomore project that is worthy of a late night or early morning listen. Concrete and Glass is out today via Because Music.