Inside your own head: “Many Colours” by Colder

by Sam Hawkins

While it’s been just over a decade since his last full-length release, Marc Nguyen Tan, aka Colder, hasn’t missed a step with the release of his largely anticipated tertiary effort in ten years, Many Colours.

In a deft exhibition of the dark and dreary, Colder continues where he left off: probing one’s mind and memory with an evocative style of music where mood and motif are as, or more, important than any one of its particular components. Although ready with an impressive range of vocal performances, including an appearance by fellow Frenchman, Owlle, on a track entitled “Midnight Fever,” it can be hard not to hear Many Colours as a sort of soundtrack to one’s own personal dream sequence.

However one might manifest that is purely up to them, but what with Colder’s dazzling display of despondent electronic arrangements, and a decided vocal method that harkens back to post-punk acts such as Joy Division, Colder’s brand of darkwave would have inspired the likes of Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, or any other individual of that disposition.

But with that said, the extent to which Many Colours immerses its listener is never one to over saturate or have one feeling completely deprived of their senses. With songs like “Many Colours,” “Another Year,” and “On a Flat and Empty Land,” Colder’s polished composition lends itself to a variety of responses, both emotional and physical in nature. Whether one chooses to get up and move, or instead bob along to its entrancing beat, this ten-track LP doesn’t alienate one from the particular world it works to facilitate.

And on decidedly slower songs, such as “Turn Your Back” and “Silence,” Nguyen Tan’s incorporation of piano layers each track in such a way as to balance it from ever becoming overly lethargic or somber. As desolate as this album may sometimes seem, it’s not without its gentler moments.

For someone so reclusive as Marc Nguyen Tan has proven himself to be, it’s impossible to say when we might hear from him again. Until that point in time is clear, the ten tracks that make up the labyrinthine wonder that is Many Colours will surely make do.

Many Colors is out on November 6, 2015