'Noise lost the power to insult. Silence hasn't' - John Cage
Over the last few years Erik Skodvin, whilst finding time to release a plethora of his own material as Svarte Greiner and Deaf Center, has developed a well-earned reputation for releasing beautifully disturbing music on his own Miasmah label. Acts such as Elegi and Jacazsek have already set the bar high, creating masterpieces of contemporary doom-laden experimental music. Now adding to the label's impeccable roster, 'L'Autopsie Phenomenale De Dieu' is the incredible debut album from Belgian artist Kreng.
On initial listening, 'L'Autopsie Phenomenale De Dieu' immediately presents itself as a fully-realised body of work, with focus, flow and continuity. It may therefore come as a surprise to discover that the album mainly comprises recordings created for a variety of separate theatre productions, and even more of a surprise to learn that the compositions found here are sample-based constructions. The pieces incorporate sounds and material from a variety of sources: free-jazz, new electronic generated sounds, classical modernism and vintage geographical recordings. The subtleties of the techniques Kreng has employed in the creation of theses pieces is simply stunning.
Discordant segments of wailing top-end violins give way to clunking rhythmic passages of metal marimbas and tuned percussion; free roaming passages of rasping low-end brass and the shuffle of free jazz. recalling the work of Prestige-era Moondog, as well as aspects of Harry Partch's instrumentation via mid- to latterday period Tom Waits, are all at work here. Atonal ambiance and slow builds, eerie segues into low murk, and a haunting solo soprano voice are all pulled together to make perfect sense, often in terrifying ways. The creative process in Kreng's twisted soundscapes works perhaps in parallel with the abstract and often disturbing work of the Abattoir Fermé theatre company, which has used many of the scores found here in a variety of their productions. In this context, the dark and threatening moods the album creates suggest it may house more subversive, ritualistic, even occult undertones; Kreng's music is based upon the possibility of silence as a confrontational weapon.
'L'Autopsie Phenomenale De Dieu' also features suitably twisted artwork coordinated by Erik Skodvin, and, aside from scoring over twenty theatre and dance productions, Kreng has been involved in several collaborative projects with various members of Belgium's musical underground, including producing a remix for Badawi's 'Unit Of Resistance' album (aka Raz Mesinai - Tzadik ).
released May 25, 2009
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