Electronic music is basically a part of France’s heritage at this point. From the poppy beats in Madeon’s albums to the gloomy synths in Perturbator’s, France is making some of the world’s best electronic music right now. CloZee is one of many to fall into the pull of the electronic, shifting her focus from the classical guitar into the world of fusion electronica.
CloZee started making electronic music a few years back and has been touring a while, but her new album “Evasion” is the first album-length product she’s put out. It does what a first album should do, capturing her style in a coherent and strong package.
CloZee’s style revolves around melding classic trends in European electronic music with classical trends from around the world. She pulls at choral vocals, classical guitar, Asian instruments, and Middle-Eastern beat structures to make a fusion sound that tries to be more unique for its combinations than it is derivative for its individual parts. For the most part, CloZee does well.
With fusion electronica, it can be easy to be derivative. A lot of EDM music making the rounds on YouTube or Soundcloud use an interesting sound sample from an instrument foreign to the artist’s own culture to create a hook that’s unique inside an EDM beat that is otherwise ordinary. This is derivative. It’s not necessarily bad sounding music, but it is derivative because it’s most of what’s interesting about it comes from the surface level of other sources, whether that’s the one interesting instrumental sample taken from another culture or the main beat and the whole fusion process taken from their own.
CloZee fuses enough sources together in an interesting enough way that her music feels like it’s her own. It is generic in some ways, still having the super clean, over-produced sound a lot of electronic music has as well as the easy to follow bass beats, but that isn’t all bad. Done well, that generic EDM style has its appeal. Being so clean and easy to follow, it lets artists like CloZee put in lots of interesting individual sections without confusing the listener.
CloZee’s unique sections are where she shines so that generic style suits her just fine. For example, her song “Chinese Trip” doesn’t have a radical structure to it, but it sounds cool because it uses engaging samples and sections. All the sounds feel fresh, potentially even played by CloZee herself. There is a range of crisp snaps, claps, violin strings, what sounds like guqin and erhu, all mixed together with the guitar, synths, and bass that EDM more often uses.
CloZee doesn’t have to rely on sounds from different branches of traditional music to make a good song, either. The title track “Evasion” mostly uses chimes, synths, drum rattles, and echoing vocals familiar to EDM. CloZee still keeps all of her sections interesting and keeps the song moving well between them, adding and dropping parts around a synth beat that dances up and down a scale. “Evasion” has a great mix of quick, sharp staccato notes and long, fluid notes that makes it fun, interesting, and pretty easy to listen to.
Most of CloZee’s songs have a good mix of sounds that feel sharp, smooth, grandiose, subtle, and so on. She is very good at clipping beats at the right point and matching them up with each other and it shows across the album, which moves very well, with tracks that never drag on too long or end too quickly.
All of this would add up to a good but unimpressive electronic album, but I think CloZee is exceptionally creative and that makes “Evasion” have something that a lot of similar EDM acts lack. “Evasion” has a distinct style across the album but it doesn’t feel one-note because there’s a lot of variance in terms of the sounds used. “Wander On” opens like something out of a Tim Burton movie and keeps that spooky vibe intact through the song. “Desert” is quicker, harsher, and branches out to Middle-Eastern rhythms and instruments.
If there’s an area where CloZee does feel repetitive, it’s in the song structure. It feels like most songs on the albums build in very similar ways and follow similar progressions. Clozee relies on a lot of the same tricks, and her songs often have the same structure of stacking sounds on top of each other as gets towards the middle of the song, hitting a stride, then removing the layers towards the end and leaving off with a nice, atmospheric sound, gentle riff, or smooth vocal piece. That’s a fine structure to use, but it does get old after a while.
Overall, CloZee is another pretty interesting electronic musician to come out of France. It doesn’t feel like she quite has the unique qualities and strong identity to match some of the greats to come from her country yet, but it seems to me like she could get there. Honing the style, mixing up song structure, and going even deeper into the unique world rhythms she uses from could put her right up there with the best.