Virusse is the solo electronic effort of Mindy Stock of Providence, Rhode Island. Her Bandcamp site states describes her artistry as:
“Influenced by and stemming out of the local experimental/noise scene, her songs drip with reverb, pop-encrusted melodies, driving beats, and swirling, distorted synth lines. Her lyrics tell tales of dreaming, doomed love, social anxiety, spirits, and the battle between self-love or self-destruction.”
That’s certainly an apt description for this cassette’s contents, intriguingly titled Bouquet de sable (or, Bouquet of Sand). Her vocal technique shows a surprising amount of restraint and intention, whereas many other female vocalists in this category either come across as overly emotive or rely on reverb and delay to cover up a lack of chops (I’m specifically thinking of the Grouper/Pocahaunted sound that’s been hacked to death for the past seven years). Stock’s voice soars atop a shifting sea of synthesizer and drum-machine patterns that would appeal to a fairly wide range of audience, as is likely apparent both from her range of influences and the unique multi-genre approach she has taken here. The dreamy over-dubbed vocals and handclaps of “Slave to Pleasure” wouldn’t be out-of-place on a more “mainstream” label’s catalog, for instance.
What separates Bouquet de sable from the horde of other female-fronted, beat-driven projects is Stock’s attention to detail (especially in regards to stereo effects), brevity regarding song length, and the asymmetry of her compositions—all while not sacrificing hooks or other seductive “pop” elements. The rhythms have their own distinctly textural elements, with each track standing on its own individual merits; the synthesizers contrast well in layers of clear and distorted melody. “Through the Veins and Fear” closes out this release with acoustic guitar and flute lamentations that leave one with the feeling of being alone in an open field, enveloped by a fog that is both comforting and surreal at once.
Virusse crafts personal, emotionally charged songs that provide a perfect auditory mirror to the rainy day happening outside my bedroom window. This release took me by surprise; it is a tape of catchy, dark electro with distinctly crisp digital synthesis from a label that are typically known for their industrial noise. Perhaps I’m not the most well-versed reviewer for this genre of music, but the entire cassette was a pleasure from start to finish. Those looking for another sexually fixated slab of noise madness will probably be disappointed, and the label could probably care less what they think anyway. If you enjoy carefully crafted music that is full of quiet sadness, then Bouquet de sable is well-worth your time. Unfortunately, it has been released in an edition that is limited to just 100 copies, so don’t sleep on it.
A1) So Below
A2) Slave to Pleasure
A3) Singular Form
B2) Lightly Flickering, the Winter Sun
B3) Through the Veins and Fear