Best Albums of 2020: Rone ‘Room With A View’

Room With A View (Infine)

French electronica artist Rone’s new album is a joyous one, all over place yet entirely coherent. Room With A View is a deft splicing of beats-based electronics and dance music DNA with some strong classical leanings, from Baroque to Philip Glass. His mingling of the two worlds is extraordinarily good: atmospheric and powerful, full of light and shade and abundant with strong instrumental tunes. The title track has grand Baroque chords and arpeggios ala Vivaldi, led by organ but shaped with impressive production that makes it thoroughly 21st century. His arrangement for the harpsichord-led “La Crapaud Dore” displays the same uncanny studio skill. The quieter, beatless moments like “Lucid Dream” and “Solastalgia” have a filmic quality and their own inner drama; I love the way the latter’s ravishing orchestral harmonies weave among disquieting samples of a child’s faltering voice. Some cuts veer away from the classical element altogether while still sounding like they belong here, such “La Marbrerie”, a sad and beautiful elegy that would make Boards of Canada proud. The beats that underpin all this wonder vary in tempo, syncopations and intensity; sometimes they’re filtered, slightly fractured and bit stuttery, like Jon Hopkins might sound without the glitchy overload. The music comes from a commission for a French theatre-dance production, which explains the snatches of conversations, speeches and debates you’ll hear sprinkled across the soundscape. Take from those you will, but I’m here for the music, and it’s glorious.

Best Albums of 2020 Reviews Index

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