It wouldn’t be surprising if Boris Gronemberger has crossed your path before. He is a Belgian singer-songwriter, composer, guitarist, vocalist, and percussionist whom the label Matamore calls their cement and edifice. A musician of abounding talent and hyperactivity, Boris has played alongside a large and diverse group of artists including Francoiz Breut, Soy un Caballo, Raymondo, Chacda, Ideal Husbands, Stars of the Lid, Venus ...
Within his own band, V.O. (short for Version Originale), the full spectrum of his vision unfolds. His new album Obstacles, released on Matamore in Belgium is now finding a second home on the UK label Folkwit. It was recorded in Brussels at "Sumo Studio" by Julien Paschal and mixed in Cardiff by Charlie Francis ( High LLamas, REM, Soy un Caballo).
Much like a vessel of transport, “Obstacles” engages its listeners in the dynamics of a continually evolving landscape. As Boris asserts on the second track, “I can hardly see the line to follow, but I can see the constant changes”. With a sense of exploration that fans of Robert Wyatt would appreciate, Boris colors out of the lines, leading us to where unexpected creative turns join the cerebral focus of a very talented composer.
What is most beautiful about “Obstacles” is that the sophistication of its arrangements does not obscure its sense of intimacy. Sometimes it is the warm and soothing tone of Boris’ voice that surges to the foreground, presenting images that center us in his experience and personal narrative. Other times his voice fades into the interchanging timbres of delicate guitar parts, energetic percussion, wind instruments, and harmonies weaving in and out of a subtle electronic touch. The lyrics unfurl like poetic journal entries, often sparse, but always poignant and well placed. Full of confessions and questions, these songs come straight from the heart, bravely exposing the vulnerability that is common to everyone looking into the face of changes we cannot control and the beauty of moments we cannot keep.
Ultimately, “Obstacles” is an album about converging points that fork into crossroads. It is a place where intuition meets determination, innocence meets ambition, and playfulness meets sapience. As a traveler must be keenly attuned to his/her environment, Boris is an artist similarly attuned to his creation: he carries only that which is essential and uses it all to materialize the sublime vision of where he is going.