Normally, when a press release boasts that no samples were used on an album, we can infer two things about the band in question: firstly that they’re trapped in a time-loop that extends no later than 1994 and secondly that they play some kind of raw, sloppy Punk/Metal that no-one would imagine for a second used samples. For the first time in the history of music, however, there is actually a point to declaring that – if you go in to Igorrr’s kitchen-sink onslaught of Metal, dance, Balkan music, 8-bit synths and whatever else solo permanent member Gautier Selle feels like chucking in, you could be forgiven for thinking that samples play a heavy role. They certainly used to, but in the decade-plus since the first Igorrr demo was released, Selle has gradually built up both his own musical ability and his circle of connections and collaborators, until every sound on Savage Sinusoid (Metal Blade) was created specifically for the album.
It’s an impressive achievement by itself, but it’s also had a positive effect on the music, albeit one that takes a few listens to sink in. The last time I heard Igorrr was in 2010 with Nostril (Ad Noiseam) which – I believe – still used samples to provide some of its more outré sounds, and it was a foam-spraying, arm-flailing onslaught of ludicrousness turned all the way to 11. Fun, but also quite superficial and prone to wearing off quite quickly.
In comparison, Savage Sinusoid is much slower to take hold, lacking the initial What The Fuckery of its predecessor – at times it almost sounds restrained, with Selle’s allowing individual riffs and sections to have space to breathe rather than instantly mashing them into five other things. The abrupt changes of direction that marked Nostril are still present to some extent, but used much more sparingly, and there’s a sense of musical purpose and depth behind the compositions that is unexpected from music that’s previously been easy to dismiss as “wacky”.
Savage Sinusoid is not the most instantly gratifying album you’ll hear all year, and it’s not without its flaws – some of the vocals sound like an afterthought, for example – but as an example of what can be done by a person taking very silly music completely seriously and refusing to take short cuts, it’s both an enlightening and a genuinely captivating listen.