Michel Huygen (Neuronium) has created a superb album of electronic music, characterized, among other things, by an unusual and profound manipulation of sound. Water in its multiple manifestations (oceans, rivers, lakes, streams) and what it means to our planet is the theme that has inspired him and on which he has shaped his artistic impressions.

In a time when every electronic sound with an acoustic aspect comes from samplers, few synthesists seem to be able to sculpt sounds of an acoustic appearance directly on the synthesizer. Although to record "Hydro", Michel Huygen utilized samplers as well, some of the most remarkable and "acoustic" sounds in the CD were created by him by means of his skilled manipulation of the processes of electronic synthesis. Thus, for instance, the female solo vocals in "Regina Maris" is neither a true human voice, nor even a sampled one. It is a sound created by Michel. On the other hand, some of the water noises heard in several points of the album are not real, nor are they sampled ones, but rather, once again, an illusion that this composer, like the good sound ceramist he is, knows how to create. The Real and the Unreal are blended and intertwined in this CD. The fact that Huygen succeeds in deceiving our ears up to such a point, makes him into a sort of magician of synthesizers, capable of giving audible life to The Impossible.

As is usual in his latest releases, Michel himself has taken care of the graphic design. The cover idealizes in an almost mystic way the vital element that features this album. The back cover includes a remarkable, ethereal metamorphosis of Michel's face, which appears to evoke Captain Nemo or the god Neptune. The design extends as well to the compact disc itself, which seems to be like the surface of a raft. It should be remembered that Michel Huygen was one of the first electronic artists to abandon the standart aesthetic patterns of CDs for his releases, as well as those of their cases, thus obtaining a further scope to develop his artistic ideas.

 "Directo al corazon" ("Droit au coeur"), released some months before "Hydro", was a much expected album, since in it Michel Huygen intended to summarize the more "cyber-romantic" trends in his music, that is to say, those pieces that, without diverging from a cosmic perspective, possess an important emotive load. In this sense, Huygen has achieved the shaping of his own romantic style, like only a few artists have been able to do, among whom mention must be made of Vangelis or Kitaro.

The collaboration by Pascal Languirand in the CD also raised great expectations. Pascal Languirand, an active electronic composer since the seventies, became specially famous with the world hit of his theme "Living on Video" by Trans-X, composed by him. The collaboration between these two great artists of the musical avantgarde has been shaped in the song "Sólo pensando en tí".

The success of this release has become obvious given the fact that the first release was sold out after merely a month of international distribution.

The sudden success of Huygen in Brazil continues to grow. A proof of this is given by the indigenous re-releases of his albums, such as for instance "Infinito" (which has a new cover, by the way), or the compilation "Neoromance".

It is not unusual that the works by Huygen have a large appeal for the general audience. The music by Michel, far from the constraints dictated by fashions, continues to gain new listeners, no matter whether they are new or old themes. Although this is a hardly commercial kind of music, even anti-commercial music according to many of the criteria of the recording industry, he has connected with the audience so well during these almost twenty-five years, that as these lines are being written, the amount of albums sold is on the threshold of a million.

With practically a million of records sold, Michel is thus found among the few authors of electronic music that have reached that volume of record difussion, a reduced club to which such artists as Vangelis, Jean-Michel Jarre, Tangerine Dream and some other first-rate artists belong. As this article is being written, the best selling album by Huygen is Psykya.

Of course, the visits to the web of Neuronium, designed and carefully maintained by Michel, are a must for any follower of his music, or simply for anyone wishing to voyage on a web designed per se as a work of art. Even though it accomplishes its function as a source for basic information about the artist, the web page of Neuronium, which is registering a really high number of visits, constitutes a good opportunity to get to know an excellent example of interactive web-art. The web also includes links to the virtual galleries of cosmic and supernatural paintings by Tomás Gilsanz, a graphic artist related for many years with the audiovisual performances by Neuronium. To access the official web of Neuronium as well as others related to Huygen, the best advice is to visit:

During these last months, Michel has been quite in contact with Constance Demby, due to her moving to Spain. This composer has settled both her residence and her work place near to where he lives, and this geographical nearness, together with their friendship and their artistic compatibility foretells interesting collaborations in the future.

Michel is already working on what is to become his new release: "Azizi". The African origin of this word that gives its name to the album, represents in a way an aknowledgement to the culture of the place that saw his birth, since, even if he has spent most of his life in Europe, his birthplace was Africa. Using for the title this word of the language he came to fluently know in a time of his life, Michel tenderly recalls the memories of his early childhood, as an acknowledgement to several African cultural elements that, somehow, have been absorbed by the dominant culture of the industrialized nations without recognizing their genuine origins. At the same time, this being his thirtieth album in his career, it seems to be the appropriate moment to have a look to an intense life as well as meditate a little on the circumstances of one's coming to this world themselves.

(By: Jorge Munnshe)

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