Commendatio IV

“And then the acrid odor coming from the tin factory behind the house—like the smell of modern progress. The smell of a dead horse, which is almost unbearable, is still a thousand times better than the smell of burning chemicals. And the sight of a dead horse with a bullet hole in the temple, his head lying in a pool of blood and his asshole bursting with the last spasmic evacuation, is still a better sight than that of a group of men in blue aprons coming out of the arched doorway of the tin factory with a hand truck loaded with bales of fresh-made tin.” Henry Miller, Tropic of Capricorn

The Empire Line – “The Nature Of Your Oppression Is The Aesthetic Of Our Anger”
[Bassiani Փ Techno – Industrial]

I’ve been on TEL right from the get-go with “Rave”. I find it interesting the way this Scandinavian ensemble manages to stay afloat with three characters who, at first glance, appear to be so different. The ever low-profile, quasi-entrepreneurial noise dealer Christian Stadsgaard; the incandescent tattooed punk in sweatpants Iron Sight; and then Varg, who pretty much considers everything in the world to be a meme (including his own career). But they keep delivering the fucking goods. This punk-meets-techno-meets-industrial infusion is addicting, vicious and a club-wrongdoing inducer. Just like a rioting football crew, who thrashes every town they get their hands on, flipping the middle finger to policemen and tagging ACAB on the walls, The Empire Line appears to be constantly on the edge of violence and confrontation if you rub them the wrong way. I believe it doesn’t take much, really. Just imagine GG Allin playing Tresor and you may get the picture. This four-track EP consummates that attitude, especially “No Prayers Will Help You Here” by rescuing some bits of the exhilarating “Cocaine Cowboy” – a mainstay of their live act. I don’t want their choo-choo train ever to stop, but the engine seems to rely on chaos as fuel, so a raucous crash may ultimately be unavoidable. At least, it will sound like Eurodance.

Police Des Moeurs – “Péril”
[Mannequin Փ Coldwave]

Can’t really fathom what makes me particularly fond of this record. Perhaps it’s the French language and its Quebecois accent. But, well, I’m afraid I’m not that prodigal in it, nor would I ever be able to spot the differences. I’m linguistically tone-deaf. Can it be the moody synthesizer, that icy stalactite-like upbeat, pinching, twiddling and exposing my imperfections like a truth-telling drug? Or the spooky Manuelle Gauthier‘s vocal intonations, a bloodied ghost from a now-defunct tavern, scaring all the former attendees with little clues about how they’re going to die from consumption?  I don’t know. It works.

Ann Margaret Hogan – “Honeysuckle Burials”
[Downwards Փ Classical – Piano]

Such a great album this is. Piano-only works (well, for the sake of accuracy, I shall say that this one includes some field-recording fragmentations) sometimes can be somehow off-putting to my ears. I tend to repel things that are too beautiful, too nice, too pristine, even when they deliberately present themselves like petit couriers of sadness. But “Anno” manages to be beautiful the right away and that’s some rare feat. There are no emotional exacerbations, no hyperboles, no shallow crescendos (fucking post-rock bands, always with that shitty shit). These eight pieces are honest confessions from a woman who has lots to tell but prefers to let the piano take the stage, not words. But nothing gets lost in that brain-fingers translative motion. And “Earth” is a stunning closer.

pantea – “everydaymeal”
[Czaszka Փ Field Recording – Experimental]

Most of the times, this is pretty much like a sound-morphed bird-watching exercise, i.e., the perfect fit for this book I’m looking forward to reading. Others, non-linearity emerges, with tiny bits of noisy driftwood capsizing our vestibular systems, as we experience several rounds of amplified throbbing impulses from a post-human robotic bughouse. Accept the challenge and unscrew yourself from your hammocks of reality.

False Brother – “Uncanny Valley”
[Iron Lung Records Փ Post-Punk]

Well, the combination between Iron Lung Records and post-punk has the winning percentage of peak playoff Michael Jordan. Let me just drop three names: Diät, Cadáver Em Transe and Flesh World. So, I knew right off the bat that I would enjoy this record considering the label’s accurate purview. I wasn’t wrong. “Uncanny Valley” is yet another home run, but it doesn’t fly out of the park by unleashing a jamboree of complexity, of self-assured bravado. Quite the opposite. The whole album is a pitchblende of introversion, of unassumingly simple structures, with almost spoken-wordish vocals and minimalist guitar compositions. Imagine “I Fell Voxish” by The Fall with less enmity and lax, but suffused with the sort of noir secretiveness that only a proper occult synthesizer (“Artificial Terrain”) or an anti-human drum machine can add (“Empty Time”). You cannot not enjoy it.

Bohren & Der Club Of Gore – “Patchouli Blue”
[PIAS Փ Dark Jazz]

They can’t make anything wrong, can they? I can’t honestly say this is their best – “Black Earth” is still the indisputable number one in my books -, but “Patchouli Blue” is just this simple truism that confirms Bohren & Der Club Of Gore as the lords of late-night scotch-smelling ennui. No one comes close, let’s be honest. That dillydally saxophone zones everything out and you end up, once again, surrendering your liver to the ethanol floozy demons. And, like Prometheus, you will be there the following night, with that hepatic mass regenerated, just to endure it again. With pleasure.

Herukrat – “Darkness Over Najaf”
[Total Black Փ Power Electronics]

This is fucking jihad right here. We all know the Islamic world and electronics are not mutually exclusive, thanks to the never-ending Muslimgauze litany and the desert narratives of Vatican Shadow. But this is another territory. This isn’t just about contemplating an armed conflict from afar, this is being deployed right in the heart of a sheer wanton guerrilla that pierces one’s life and soul. The chanting & praying samples add to this whole palimpsest on storm warfare through the hands of Jackson Abdul-Salaam, who has mastered the art of geopolitics-based noise (Junta Cadre is also highly recommended).