[Reviewed by: Iaha Crax]
This French project is perhaps much appreciated by the connaisseurs of dark electronic music. They released the first two albums (Invocations, Dislocations) on one of the most productive French industrial labels, Divine Comedy Records, and then they moved to OPN (with Disseminations). For the time being, Dissipations was released last year through OPN and Malignant Antibody (the offspring of Malignant Records).
Their course so far recommends them as a band that has already attained an important potential. Either way it is their music that immediately hooks the listener through an orchestral electro/ambient conceived at the highest standards. Sigma Octantis belongs to those music writers that so easily manage to convert natural landscapes and états d’âme into natural musical structures. The liquid sound heard on “Vieil Océan, Aux Vagues De Cristal” pours smoothly into the mind the image of a belvedere at the shore of the ocean. It is really stupendous how a rich plethora of sound sources are arranged in such a way as to illustrate a homogeneous and in the same time evanescent picture: martial drums, sprinkle electronics, guitars and water waves collocate in a wonderful impressionist tableau. Undeniably, the group members are forged craftsmen of sounds, and they work out parsimoniously to shape diamond-like conglomerates of melody. Every detail is treated with the highest finesse and dedication. “Fantôme Infinitésimaux”, the second song, features a form of neo-post-rock that is distracted, surrealistic and bereft of any irritating bravado or shallow free-improvisation.
“Errance Définitive” takes a simple leaf-singing like sound and molds it along an ethno-tribal ambient melody in an almost mystic trance. The musical notes wander about like the peaceful thoughts of a diver into amniotic waters. Imagination and spirit roam free and softened under the spell of this magical elegy, and there is no shore to stop them, like in Lamartine’s verse: “[…]toujours poussés vers de nouveaux rivages, / Dans la nuit éternelle emportés sans retour”(Le Lac). The disc showcases a complete maturation, playing in a natural manner on heterogeneous registers from cosmic ambient and meditative music to psychedelic post punk, so that you remain simply mesmerized, convinced that you have stumbled across a gem. Listen to the way “Conamara Chaos” blossoms progressively with every concocted lavish note, moving on a chameleonic tapestry of melodies, and you will know what I mean.
The star Sigma Octantis is located near the Southern celestial pole, and in an old interview Jean-Michel W. (textures and programming) made a remark about choosing this band’s name in order to take some distance from the current heavy tendencies in music, and to make (musical or psychological) references to the North. And this is another relevant musical feature for Sigma Octantis, their light ambient treatment of the songs, a certain weightlessness and brightness of an astral origin, like on “Des Astres Tranquilles”. The same Jean-Michel mentions the band’s influences: Lambwool, Land, Mandible Chatter, Rapoon, Zoviet France, Morthound… musical projects that apply an ambient approach to industrial textures. “Parle Moi, Il Fait Si Noir” experiments with progressive rock and electronic music and gives birth to an almost balladesque love song, while the next “Et Vers Le Ciel Errant (De Ton Oeil Angélique)” fails on minimal elusive arpeggios of an Ulver-esque extraction.
Malignant Antibody presents the disc as being the band’s final statement, as they are about to put an end to their 10 year career. “Dissipations” ends with “Farewell”, spreading out their final notes with an air of delicate nostalgia which evolves and dissolves at the pace of our now dreamy and bewildered thoughts.