Boris Gronemberger is a prolific Belgian musician, contributing to acts like Girls in Hawaii, Françoiz Breut, and Chantal Acda… while also a live member of Blondy Brownie and Castus. Between all these projects, Gronemberer has somehow made the time to prepare for his third solo release since 2019 under the moniker River into Lake. Coming February 23, 2024 via Grin Factory and Humpty Dumpty Records, Rise & Shine came about over the past three years, seeking to bridge orchestral pop and jazz structures explored in previous material. The subject of today’s premiere, “Tarot”, is an ambitious synth pop piece that evokes ’80s sci-fi film scores and radio hits through a command of minimalist structures, effective percussion, and a baritone vocal delivery.
The accompanying visuals are more than a music video. Directed by Alice Khol, the nearly ten-minute short film features a combination of acting and dancing that, to me, conjures a story of queer love and heartbreak. The video is decidedly modern, using contemporary video styles one sees on social media alongside more traditional film styles. This modern approach is an interesting juxtaposition against the ’80s nostalgia of “Tarot”. However, paired together, a soft intimacy and vulnerability emerge. The way the track unfolds feels both strong as a standalone and perfect as a score to the film, speaking to the unique abilities of both River into Lake and Khol to create a complementary yet contrasting audiovisual piece.
As the song and video for “Tarot” progresses, the instrumental moves from minimalism into a synthesis of keys, horns, and guitar lines that feel psychedelic. Ranging from eerie to sweet, the melodic choices and synth timbres sometimes evoke comparisons to S U R V I V E, coming to climaxes and intermissions as the narrative evolves.
“Tarot” shows the capacity of River into Lake as a songwriter and sound designer. I am intrigued to hear the full record come February. Pre-order information will be released closer to the record. In the meantime, I recommend following River into Lake on Facebook and checking out their official website.