Hante. is the one-woman project of French artist Hélène de Thoury who has been producing music since 2013. De Thoury has been building upon her soundscape over the years, shaping its landscapes in 2017’s Between Hope & Danger with its darkwave aesthetic, then refining it by tweaking synthlines, timbrally rich reverbs and proggy synthesizer sequences in 2019’s FIERCE. Now, with Morning Tsunami (Synth Religion) she has released her most fully realized, personal album to date.
Strongly atmospheric album opener ‘Apnée’ demonstrates from the get-go that Hante. has deepened her approach to electronic darkwave. This stunner features a slow build-up that explodes into a wondrous range of expansiveness, something akin to The Cure’s ‘Plainsong’. This track lays the groundwork for the following tracks to come, alerting the listener that this spacious album intends to take its time to get to where it needs to go.
In her most expansive record to date, de Thoury gifts the listener with slow burns and big payoffs that explode into the sublime. This delayed gratification can be found in ‘Catharsis’ as it grows in strength as it reaches its apex in a textured, strong finale. It is also used with aplomb on the somber synthline at the peak moment in ‘A Lifetime of Desires.’
In album standout ‘Wasting Time’, de Thoury sets a strong foundation early in, then warps its context as the song spreads itself out. She takes a basic delayed piano loop, then inverts the melody, takes it apart and reassembles it around proggy synths, stretched out bass and juicy reverb. ‘Blank Love’ moves from sparse arpeggio and kick drum to a darker, larger palette of pads comparable to the opening, yet with more at stake.
Vocal elements, while very much a part of the album, have been substantially decreased in favor of a more cinematic, instrumental landscape. When de Thoury’s characteristic half-spoken, half-sung vocals do make an appearance they are used sparingly. This seems a conscious decision in order to position the melodies and electronics to allow the listener to craft their own trajectory based on how they are navigating the emotional landscape at the time of listening. ‘Transparent’, for example, is purely instrumental and relies on evoking emotional highs and lows midway through the album to powerful effect.
Morning Tsunami is a strong mood of an album that fluctuates from soothing to dynamic, teasing the listener into a grandiose journey through a multitude of experiences and emotions. De Thoury elongates and hypnotizes the listener with trancy, powerful production, swaying from melancholia to nostalgia with grace. The complex sound design and production cements Hélène de Thoury as a top producer as well as a performer of the modern darkwave genre. She has created an album that is fully realized and reflective of her talents and voice as a music maker.
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