Mannie Cutean started the experimental project ‘Norunoua’ from the suburbs of Detroit. As a live set started to evolve with an APC and a Maschine, Steve Cotton a longtime friend from grade school, joined in on synth guitar to make the live show more versatile. This synergy has eventually led to the twelve-track “Chrysalis”, the duo’s debut album. I have been blown away by this album since it was introduced to me by and really served as a transition from moving into IDM from being a trance fan.
I have listened to the whole album numerous times and I find it relaxing, upbeat and melodic. Electronic is subjective to the individual listening to it, if you are looking for a more structured rhythmic electronic album, with beautiful and intricate soundscapes this is absolutely a must own or at least listen to it and check it out.
When it comes to IDM, Norunoua sits near the top of the heap. They obviously don’t get the credit they deserve just yet as they are only starting out with this recording, but make no mistake they will do in a very short time. You can tell that Mannie Cutean has done his homework here.
This album is so detailed, yet never overwhelming sonically. It sounds completely unlike anything to have come out in recent times. Every sound effect and sample is used to absolute perfection here to create one of those rare albums that have the ability to transport you to a different place and time. The album has a running narrative taken from its title – “Chrysalis represents metamorphosis, a process in which a gathering of elements reconstruct themselves into a different form.”
And the musical narrative is so vividly real that it paints a picture with every track. As I sat back and listened (and you’ll want to sit back and listen, completely focused, for full effect), I couldn’t help but unconsciously create a story around the images so convincingly forming in my mind.
The album is a concept album, and it can have a story, but that story completely depends on the mood, imagination and experiences of the person hearing it. This is about your own personal metamorphosis, and “Chrysalis” is your soundtrack. This sort of listener participation is a rarity that should never be overlooked when selecting music.
I’m almost certain that many would have the urge to describe Norunoua as a fusion between the surgical explorations of The Aphex Twin and the elastic soundscapes by Boards of Canada. But Norunoua, of course, are in a genre of their own.
Combining intricate beat-work with expansive synth melodies that keep on swirling into inter-winding sonic tangles, Norunoua creates a unique mesh of sound which is as abstract and experimental as it is cerebral and astute. Norunoua bring the ‘I’ to the ‘Intelligent Dance Music’ acronym.
What I really appreciated in their sound is the particular attention to the developing melody, its musicality and very fragile tone. Here’s another set of electronic artists to definitely keep track of in the years to come.
Essential tracks: “Bloom Positive”, “After We Talked”, “Squeak Toy”, “Frosty Feelings” and “Skyliner”.