Saycet – Mirage review

Several weeks ago, we had the chance to check out the new single from French electronica producer Saycet, and upon listening to the completed work, it’s only fair to say the work gets even better from it. Out on April 6th, Mirage is the third offering from Pierre Lefeuvre under his moniker of Saycet, and the mostly instrumental record features vocals from Phoene Somsavath on the five vocal tracks. Phoene also wrote most of her own melodies for the music, and it’s a tried and tested partnership that’s wonderfully complementary on this record.

Whilst each song is a skilful joy in its own right, the album works fantastically in one listen, each piece (even worthy of the term ‘composition’) blending seamlessly into the next. Opening Ayrton Senna is nothing but simply exquisite, the instrumental ebbing and flowing to prise open the record, before minimalistic and melancholic Mirage introduces Phoene’s vocals with a distinct flavour colouring the music; it’s easy to see why this musical pairing is one that’s lasted.

Volcano continues this bond, with more than a hint of Lana del Rey creeping into the vocals – part trippy, part dreamy, the backing is something to be relished; rather like if Lydia did entirely instrumental music. Piano makes its first appearance in Meteores, eventually fading in amongst futuristic pulses and beats, adding a beyond-modern sound to the music, before Half Awake makes its mark with the brilliant mix of vocals that mingle together perfectly.

Powering into the second half of the record, Northern Lights sees the return of the piano, fading into the synths so gently that it’s hard to spot the difference. Like one long curve the track takes its shape, ever changing yet so subtly that it’s hardly noticeable at first. Such is the power that Pierre has over the music, again highlighted in the opening of Quiet Days, where he displays the creativity with sound you’d expect from a foley artist. Beginning much like a lullaby, Cite Radieuse all but forces you to relax with its opening, later allowing layers to develop that shine through and shift the focus of the music – in many ways, it’s more like a living, changing being that it simply is a song.

The Lana del Rey-esque vocals are once again sublimely fitting in penultimate Kananaskis, albeit lighter and more vibrant than the female pop-star. There are the faintest touches of experimental music pinching into the music, taking Saycet away from the blanketing term of “electronica”, and into a whole new realm. There’s no better way to close the record than Smiles From Thessaloniki, an entirely instrumental masterpiece stretching over 8 minutes, a stand out track and my personal favourite off the album.

Skilful and cinematic, the entire album has been executed with excellent precision and control – unsurprisingly, the production quality is nothing short of perfect, and this third offering is, overall, splendid.

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