The latest collaboration from Parisian duo Moulin Rouge/Virgo is a shimmery and disorienting album called "Soukii Bougie". As the title suggests, it’s a stealthily paced duo psych pop record with a heavy dose of jazz. It’s accurate to say that the album’s first half is devoted to a mix of mostly electric guitar. The second half is surprisingly sparse, with synth tones and keys only occasionally taking up space.
But this is where things get interesting. Like a lot of ambient music, "Soukii Bougie" is made up of sound events: static, static, static, static, static. These are the sounds of body parts being scraped and scraped and scraped again. “Blunt” begins with small static riffs before a pulsing piano line adds a bass note to the mix. “Whim’s the Bell” starts with a piano line and a small flurry of static before adding a few long, low tones. “Reverie” adds a minute or so of static, and then a string of keys, followed by a long, low tone. “Solace” gradually adds more static and delays, while “Orbital” adds a long, low tone. “Chorale” gradually adds static and adds more keyboard and drums, before the drums finally start to add to the mix.
This kind of minimalism is not new for Moulin Rouge. Moulin Rouge’s 2017 album "Unimaginable" was a kind of spritely little symphony of electric guitars and delayed drums. The next year, their collaboration with Dutch producer Nathan Suttie showed that they were exploring experiments in more traditional forms of sound. That same year, Moulin Rouge also released an album called "First Nature", a collection of pieces that explored themes of nature. Throughout, Moulin Rouge have been at their most effective when they’ve used their distinct styles to create a sonic sphere that’s both wider and deeper than their own music.