Each new album from NLF3 holds the promise of some “cinema for your ears”, banishing any impressions of having heard it all before, and Pink Renaissance is no exception to the rule, with its vow of a “new start”, a synthetic synthesis where the electronic melts into the organic.
A psychedelic epiphany? A blessing from Geronimo? Jungian anima? It matters not - Nicolas Laureau, Fabrice Laureau and Mitch Pires continue their pursuit of new horizons, reaching wider (and higher) without losing any of their constructive rigour.
Their Beast Me ep in 2011 saw them celebrating a Fiesta de los Muertos under a volcano, alternating shamanic doom-rock and carnival-style drum beating. With Pink Renaissance they drag themselves from the darkness and walk into light, a veritable kaleidoscope of light in fact, sporting generous electronics and heavy bass. The album opens with a shower of shooting stars, airborne melodies, Mitch Pires’ crisp drumming and ever-changing modulations - the scene has been set. Pulsing with hope, calm and freedom, yet tinged with a little of the sadness that always accompanies a time of transition, Pink Renaissance is surprising in the current climate of gloominess: sensitive and sensual, Kalimba Song invites Steve Reich to a Yoruba party, Chromatic is influenced by both This Heat and Jim O'Rourke’s progressive pop, Stellar Friendship – echoing the group’s track Stellar Subkingdom - weaves magical arpeggios that remind one of French seventies soundtrack composers François de Roubaix and Michel Colombier floating through the cosmos, while the psychedelic stoner sound of Asvattha has Hindu-like undercurrents that unquestioningly rise to their nirvana, a state definitively achieved by the sunny track Rise. As for Rosen, which ends the album with a flower in its rifle, it revisits the leitmotiv of their soundtrack to Golem, the famous German expressionist film from 1915, in which a clay colossus saves the Jewish people. It’s the celebration of a renaissance, something that will happen again and again, forever.
From the depths of the Earth to the exoplanets, from the myth of the Fifth World to Kabbalistic folklore, the three group members conjure up this Pink Renaissance as if by alchemy, somewhere between self-transformation and the transformation of the world. And why pink, may we ask? From quattrocento to the digital age, it would seem that pink continues through the ages to be a much-aligned colour, hybrid and ambivalent – “the bastard child of a triumphant red,” as writer Jean Ray described it. However, it is also the colour of joy and secrets, softness and compassion, the perfect way to summarise everything that has forged the identity of NLF3, both singular and diverse, always elusive.
Between two sessions of touring with the group, Fabrice and Nicolas Laureau will still continue their solo projects. The former helms the electronic project F/LOR which combines machine-created glitches and rough bass with a motorik tempo. The latter, as Don Niño, finely crafts intimate folktronica and curates the We:Mantra audiovisual project, aided by electronic musician Cubenx and artist Antoine Schmitt. And despite being logical offshoots, these side projects remain surprisingly complementary, serving as essential nourishment for the group’s very special sound.