Imagine what sounds the lovechild of Diamanda Galas
and Edgard Varese might have spawned?!
Belgian artist/composer Pepijyn Caudron's (aka Kreng) debut album
'L'Autopsie Phenomenale De Dieu' may well come very close.
This is music of high, Grand Guignol, drama. The stuff of nightmare.
Cinematic soundscapes of sustained imagination and dark intensity.
There is craft and technical competence here too of a knowing
and highly rarified order. Mr Caudron's theatrical collaborations
have served him well. His ability to project images into our
consciousness (however ambiguous or disturbing) through the
compositional materials at his disposal is second to none.
This is not an album to put on as the soundtrack to a dinner
party (although I may well give it a go just to see what happens!).
It's quite hard to know when the right moment might be truth-be-told
but general advice to the unwary might include warnings not to
listen to it alone, at night, in a melancholy frame of mind or
following the death of a favorite pet. You get my drift?!
Mr Caudron uses sound in so many extraordinary ways.
The piano and dark orchestral textures of 'Mythobarbital',
for example, create an atmosphere of menace and impending
catastrophe. The half-heard whimpering embedded in the
introduction is truly terrifying. Something bad is happening
here and there is not enough information available to
provide any reliable kind of answer or reassurance.
It is the uncertainty generated by many of these eighteen pieces
which sustains the nerve-jangling tension and thereby our interest.
I don't want to give the impression that it's all amorphous
self-indulgence and wilfull obfuscation however.
There is a fine musical mind at work here.
The gamelan-like rhythm, reverberating piano, reedy violin
and distant, disembodied vocal treatments of 'Tinseltown'
are quite masterful. Caudron's ability to combine 'traditionally'
generated sound with 'found' sounds (ie cut-and paste components)
is every bit as inventive as the work of the French maverick
composer Edgard Varese. (Give his 1950's composition 'Deserts'
for wind, percussion and electronic tape a go!)
'Nerveuze Man' is another delicious slice of B movie delirium.
Old Dark House In The Woods music of the highest pedigree.
Read the sign : 'DON'T GO INTO THE WOODS'. (They always do!)
'Asphyxia' is an elegant percussive minature, here and gone
in the blink of an eye. A brief tribal rumble from hell.
Stitching together the sound of a woman sobbing with a
jazzy transformation of a Chopin piano Prelude (the No 20
In C Minor - Yup the one Barry Manilow crucified in 1973
in 'Could It Be Magic!') is a very twisted idea and one
destined to give me bad dreams for at least the next month!
If you have a taste for high-camp horror you'll probably
love this album to bits. At another level there is a very
crafty musical intelligence at work in the creaky attic
and dusty corners of this spectacularly desolate work.
Mr Caudron is, indeed, totally in charge of his dark materials.