Rone's 'Room with a View' Is More Predictable Than Progressive
Published Apr 27, 2020Rone's Room with a View was shaped by at least two forces. The first was collaboration. Instigated by a live show commissioned by the Théâtre du Châtelet, the record took some inspiration from creative contact with choreography collective (LA) HORDE and the Ballet National de Marseille. The second force was Rone's desire to bring the lenses of collapsology and climate change to his music. The result is a record that does not quite do musical justice to either.
The record's collaborative side is difficult to sense, as all thirteen tracks fall largely in line with the IDM style prevalent throughout Rone's discography. Where we do get a sense that others are present in the music, as in the chatter and footsteps that creep in on "Lucid Dream" or the ensemble of voices reiterating the main melody on "Human," they come across more as visitors than participants, more tacked on to the tracks than interwoven.
The same issues plague Room with a View's supposed discursive function. If working through the implications of climate change and its ability to overwhelm was a crucial part of the artistic process, it is rarely felt in the music. "Nouveau Mode" features a clip of writer Alain Damasio exalting the comparative ability of art to change our perceptions and, consequently, our priorities. This moment is both abrasive in its excessive sentimentality and misguided in its privileging of the artistic over the political, the scientific, or whatever else might be at our disposal to combat our uncertain future. There is little in the music on Room with a View that prepares us to deal with this future, even on the rare occasion that it attempts to do so explicitly.
To be sure, Rone is an immensely skilled producer. Room with a View displays an enviable mastery of the sonic palette and methods of classic electronica. But while genre enthusiasts will find much that is familiar in these tracks, it is that reliance on the tropes and tricks of yesteryear that ultimately results in an unsatisfying listen. The reverse swells of "Lucid Dream," the boom-claps and emotive filter sweeps of "La Marbrerie," and the sudden drops in intensity signalling an upcoming climax in "Sophora Japonica" are familiar enough even to the casual music listener. Ultimately, they place the album's payoffs predominantly in the realm of predictability. (InFiné Music)