© Aurore Dal Mas
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On March 19th, 2012, Boris Gronemberger and his five-piece band released their third record under the moniker V.O. on Humpty Dumpty Records and Matamore. “On Rapids” is without a doubt V.O.’s finest work and milestone to date and boasts the touch of well known American producer/engineer John McEntire (Tortoise, The Sea And Cake) who added the final polish to the production. The members of V.O. traveled to his Soma Electronic Studios in Chicago where they recorded and mixed the final album over a period of 20 days.
Gronemberger (just look for the mustache), is based in Brussels-Belgium where he and the five other musicians who make up V.O. are behind the scenes composing scores and arranging soundtracks for renowned productions of theater, dance, and cinema (including Charles Burns’ episode in Fear(s) of the Dark).
Original members of V.O. include guitarist Cédric Castus and bassist Frédéric Renaux who have been playing with Gronemberger for 20 years. Later, when he joined the Brussels music scene, he played with a variety of bands such as Raymondo, Soy Un Caballo, Françoiz Breut and Girls in Hawaii - crossing paths and meeting the other musicians who would eventually form V.O., including multi-instrumentalist Aurélie Muller (Blondy Brownie, Soy un caballo), trumpeter Ludovic Bouteligier (Major Deluxe), and drummer Frank Baya (Clare Louise, Françoiz Breut, Mièle).
With technique that has become somewhat of a rarity in pop music, the musicians who make up V.O. know every subtlety of their respective instruments and together they form an all-star crew. While guided and composed by Gronemberger, the arrangements of the songs on “On Rapids” were fleshed out with all the musicians present over intensive summer weeks spent working in the Belgian "Ardennes". The discipline has obviously paid off.
In “On Rapids”, Gronemberger’s stirring vocal timbre gets carried by the currents of woodwind and brass punctuations, hypnotic parts for vibraphone and keys, and gorgeous vocal harmonies including the voice of the charismatic Muller. There are mesmerizing rhythmic lines that repeat and change in all the right places, perfectly executed, creating an almost addictive sonor ambiance on tracks like Everything is bathed in light. You could call “On Rapids” a river ride as the title suggests, but don’t let that take away from the fact that this is an album with structure - each song drafting rhythmic, harmonic, and melodic lines like blueprints of refined architecture.
It’s not hyperbole to place Gronemberger and his work with V.O. in the noble lineage of Brian Wilson, Robert Wyatt, or Jim O’Rourke. It’s simply about time. To know for sure, all you have to do is catch one of V.O.’s live performances, where the band’s musicality, energy, and craftsmanship all becomes perfectly clear and confirmed. Over the course of three albums, V.O.’s sound has evolved into its own potential actualized: magnificent, uplifting, and authentically pop.
Benelux - Rutger De Brabander / Nada
Germany - Jonas (analogsoul)
Rest of the world - V.O.
FR - La Mission / Fabrice Martin
+33 (0)1 83 62 20 83
FR web - DBTH l'Agence / Virginie Berger
+33 (0)1 83 89 19 95
BE fr - This Side Up / Olivier Biron
+32 (0)477 646 628
BE vl - Simon Laval
contact [at] wearevo.com