MELODY'S ECHO CHAMBER

 

Melody’sEchoChamberisthe name given to the work of Paris-basedmulti-instrumentalistandsongwriterMelodyProchet.Possessinga penchant forwild-eyedpsychedelia,homespunmotorik rhythm andan effortlessflair for thesort ofmelodicclassicismredolent ofchambersong, Prochet isat once both an aficionado ofpop’souterlimitsandoff-kilter to itsexpectations.


With her smoky, sensual voice andromantic presence, Prochet embodiesa distinctive kindof elegance andboldsense-of-self long associatedwith France’smore notable musical exports. But asmuch asher nationalidentity runsthroughthe fibre of the eleven tracksthat make up Melody’s Echo Chamber, there’s worldliness at play too; a looking beyond the fringes of personal experience to trawl throughEurope’s artpop lineage – kraut,space-rock,dream-pop,electronica - in a way that’s as muchcinematic in itsscope as it ismusical.


The likesofDebussy andSpiritualizedareseldom quotedin tandem when itcomestotouch-pointsof an artist’sdebut album but for Prochet, aclassicalmusicstudent ofsome twelve years, thissense ofdisparate influencesmakesa lot ofsense. For all itsblown-outboom andelectronicwear-and-tear, asong like ‘Crystallized’unfoldswith asweepinggraceandpoise that isdeceptively complex, andthe album ispepperedwithmomentsofmelodicilluminationthat feel almostlike movementsin the waytheyfrequently elevate thesongupandaway from the heavy,damagedbreak-beatsandmesmeric bassloopsthat typicallydrive them.  


The intriguingcombination of more confrontational,roughshodinstrumentation andstirringcompositionalscopepresentin Prochet’swork isin part attributable to the album’sorigins. Predominantly recordedandmixedwith TameImpala’sKevin Parker inPerthandfinishedoffsolo inFrance, the collaboration,struckupafter the two met on tour when Prochet wasplayingin a previousband, proveda perfect chemistry.  


“I've been surrounded for many years by the idea of classicism as I  studied viola and it's all about formal and restrained music, and when I started recording my own songs I was kind of stifled by that restriction and tended to not be as extreme as I wanted to be in sound or structure,” explains Prochet. “I think at some point I had a click and I naturally ended up collaborating with someone like Kevin. We worked as kind of complementary opposites - he helped me destroy everything I’d done up to that  point and then put it back together piece by piece, to sculpt it with the right balance of classicism but also the psychedelia and wildness I wanted.” 


Inspired by Parker’s free-spirited approach and the unconventional provisions of his home studio (“we had to mic-up on piles of bricks in the backyard”), Prochet describes her process in Perth as a childlike, exploratory one; for a record so deeply textured and layered its genesis was surprisingly less a case of studious knob-twiddling and more of playful, wide-eyed instinct. “Some Time Alone, Alone’ is one of the songs I wrote inPerthwhen Kevin was on tour and I was on my own in his studio. He'd left these notes everywhere to explain how to use the gear but his room-mate had used it just before me in the morning and messed up all the instructions, so I was in there and I didn't know how anything worked”, remembers Prochet. “So I basically just plugged into a pre-amp and played this really saturated guitar on top of my Yamaha drum machine in a way that felt natural. Of course, it was technically  ' totally wrong' but at the end we kept all of my guitars cause the sound was so special and uniquely textured that it wasn't worth it try doing it again. So, in general, there was no real process, more a day-to-day sense of experiment.”


Leaving behind Parker and his riotously messyPerthhome-studio, Prochet then travelled back toFrance, and isolation in her Grandparents’ beach house in the fittingly gorgeous climes of Cavalière, in order to add the beaming vocals that soar high over the record’s heady landscapes. “I needed the isolation for that part of the recording”, says Melody, “I’m so self-conscious singing in a room full of people so retreating to such a beautiful, quiet place really helped coax it out of me.”


The result of this process of “complementary opposites”, to use Prochet’s own phrase,  is exemplified by “Endless Shore”, one of the first tracks from the record made available, a song that is wistful but totally commanding; cosmic but muscular, and as strange and singular as it is immediately arresting on a gut level. Likewise, lead single ‘I Follow You’, with its loose, laconic guitars and instantly memorable, resignedly romantic hook swings closest to out-and-out pop but still manages to retain a friction and vulnerability. Whether starting with a seemingly straightforward song-structure and then pushing its edges outwards or going the other way and making something dense and unlikely completely contagious, Prochet’s instinctive feel for inventive song-craft is relentless.   


Fittingly for a record defined by its multiple identities, Melody’s Echo Chamber finds Prochet skipping between her native French and English with gleeful fluidity and uniformly moving results, such is the innately emotive quality of her voice. “Those songs were also the first time I ever sang in French”, says Prochet, “I never had wanted to before, it never felt natural – I’ve listened to so much English music, and you are able to sing more ridiculous things in English. I’ve always been a fan of French singers but I never really considered myself capable of living up to them. But when I was in the beach house by myself I just found myself coming out with these melodies in French almost without thinking. I found a way to write really simple, poetic, lyrics – almost child-like and it felt extremely natural. I think I was able to find the right balance.”