Ottawa’s renowned dark electronic pair, Violentene, returns with their latest EP, “Human Drama.” The duo, comprising Mvrijo and Roland M., have honed their lush atmospherics and melodic vocals, blending dreamy synth new wave with the sombre tones of darkwave. Human Drama, born out of intense labour and creative inspiration, serves as a poignant counter to today’s chaotic world, offering a reflective space to contemplate life’s tumultuous essence—the human drama of existence.
The record presents a richer, more intricate collection of tracks that maintain Violentene’s signature ethereal, rhythm-driven, moody synthpop, all while keeping their post-punk and dreampop roots close at hand. Many tracks originated as expansive soundscapes, inspired by Roland’s vintage 80s synths, evolving naturally from moments of clarity to fully fleshed-out structures, without losing their original emotional resonance and vibrancy.
In 2022, the genesis of standout track Thin Lines grew out of a lone synth patch, serving as a beacon of inspiration. This clarity propelled the piece to Mvrijo, who skillfully sculpted it, ensuring it remained genuine in emotion and tone. The track navigates the intricate complexities of human thought, exploring the delicate divide between reality and madness. Musically, it channels the eerie allure of bands like CHVRCHES, Depeche Mode, and Ladytron, combined with the otherworldly notes of LEATHERS.
Up next, Break The Silence emerges, first painting the auditory canvas with haunting synth murmurs. As the composition unfolds, it ascends to unveil a chorus of celestial beauty and luminescence. Never Fade interlaces the pop synthesizer stylings reminiscent of Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark with the ethereal quality akin to Stereolab. This creation wraps listeners in a blanket of warmth and joy, gently guiding them to the dance floor for a shared experience of euphoria.
Transitioning gracefully, Eyes Of The World introduces itself with an unsettling, deliberate synthesizer rhythm. “Save me from a systematic nightmare,” she intones with deep, mournful emotion, subsequently propelling listeners into a grand chorus that underscores the complexities and challenges of contemporary society. Concluding this musical narrative, Destiny Unknown presents itself with a hushed, foreboding quality, capturing the essence of a soul in desperate flight. This masterfully crafted piece captivates its audience, infusing the experience with the tension and gravitas of silver screen drama.
There is a warmth to Violentene’s music that permeates the record – the deliciously nostalgic synths, the ethereal vocals from Mvrijo, and the earnest songwriting. It’s hard to place what era Human Drama is from – it brings forth a rare optimism within its shades of melancholy.
Roland Marckwort started Violentene in 2017 as a desire to reconnect with early ambient/dream pop musings he began with Venus Swirls in the late 90s. That project led to electro outfit Liquified, releasing two successful and acclaimed CDs and much chart success, as well as a label deal with World Domination Records.
After a short DJ stint, Roland moved on to the indie-new wave foursome Politique, who released two albums, many a sold-out show, and a Canadian mini tour during 2008-2012. In 2017, Roland collaborated with NYC singer Dani Mari (Primitive Heart) and produced and released two EPs: “Denial” and “Phantom Youth,” both gaining a strong underground following with the shoegaze-dream pop crowd.
Mvrijo has been singing since her teens and has fronted popular Canadian indie rock and pop acts. Mvrijo and Roland connected locally in Ottawa in late 2019, with the focus being able to play live finally and work locally and so began work on the Otherworld EP quickly – her inclusion into Violentene has been the perfect missing piece, fulfilling the vision the duo has embarked upon.
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