The less we know about Belgian sound alchemist Pepijn Caudron (aka Kreng), the better. We know his debut release ‘L’Autopsie Phenomenale De Dieu’ appeared seemingly out of nowhere on the Miasmah label in 2009, but other than that very little tangible information has surfaced. This sequel, the blackly monikered ‘Grimoire’ simply re-enforces Caudron’s shadowy legacy with a similarly dank concoction of cracked strings, creaking percussion and half-heard dialogue. Thankfully however Caudron has refined his craft in every way, from the artfully restrained layering of samples to the deliriously magickal atmosphere he manages to conjure up. There is the sense even from the first few seconds of the record that you are transported out of time and reality, and as hoarse, alien breaths croak over oily bass drones the poignant spoken words ‘You don’t belong here’ become an apt anchor for the entire album.
It seems almost too easy to compare ‘Grimoire’ to a film soundtrack at this point; sure Caudron has listened to his fair share of chilling scores but ‘Grimoire’ is more than simply homage, and maybe the clue is in the title itself. Grimoires are books of magic, the most important of which had a stranglehold on cultures both ancient and more recently than most people probably care to realize. These books have slipped into folklore and legend, and like those faded pages of incantations there is something deeply mystical and indescribable about Kreng’s music. Caudron’s background in theatre no doubt forms a strong foundation for his compositions, but there is so much about his work that only creeps into the light after countless hours of study. These songs are best suited to moonlight, strong spice-laced liquors and the dark recesses of our painfully dull existence. Pepijn Caudron has formed a grimy, surreal ode to not only the past, but also what the future might hold, and from the sounds of it we’re not getting off lightly. But then we’re all so tired of pretty, aren’t we?