If you’ve partied in a goth club from Atlanta to Warsaw, you’ve likely heard VNV Nation’s futurepop anthems enough to absorb the lyrics by osmosis. Ronan and Mark’s music has a ubiquitous, international appeal that unites many subcultural streams. Love it or hate it, VNV is often a gateway into other seminal names in synthwave, EBM, industrial and even noise music through their numerous and prolific collaborations.
Resonance is the most unique VNV release to date. The album delivers precisely what it promises – Ronan and The Babelsberg Orchestra, reworking some of their most popular tracks to date. The neo-classical renditions are absolutely marvelous: if you thought the original Beloved was tragically beautiful, this monumental new version will bring tears to your eyes. In a way, the classical interpretations of all these songs feel more adequate than the originals: Ronan has always affected a tragic timber that is seemingly undermined by bright, repetitive synth lines and bouncy, danceable beats. Though this stark juxtaposition is key to VNV’s repertoire, after hearing Resonance, old version of the songs seem like caricatures. Underscored by violin arpeggios and fervent, atmospheric drums, the lyrical impact is profound – Ronan truly is bearing his heart for all to see.
The Babelsberg Orchestra is no stranger to unorthodox collaborations – they’ve composed esoteric singles with everyone from the likes of Paul van Dyk to Rammstein, and although their music is exquisite, it’s not a casual listening experience. Eighty continuous minutes of ballads on Resonance was fatiguing, but there is undoubtedly a special place for neoclassical covers like this in your music library.
Resonance is not a very consequential album of VNV’s career; it’s a treat for their most avid and intransigent fans. The foretelling “Vol 1” notation suggests there are likely more surprises on the way, if Ronan could stop spoiling them by furtively sharing photos of himself and the orchestra in studio.
Label Website: anachronsounds.de
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: VNV NATION – RESONANCE