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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Post Mortem Photographs

" This eerie netrelease comes courtesy of newish French imprint La Manufacture De Bruit, which translates as The Factory of Noise (thank you internet translator). Researching this duo, comprising David Vallée and Stéphane F was a bit of a task and I certainly don’t recommend blindly typing Post Mortem Photographs into Google. Still, they got my attention and I’m glad I investigated further.

This record is split into 8 movements and one 12 second interlude and focuses on the duo’s fascination with death at the end of the Victorian era. The sepia-toned, aged photograph of two emotionless children used as the album cover only enhances this imagery. The music, we’re told, is influenced by sound collages, the sounds of dark and reptitive bands and the ambience of German expressionist films.

Mantra-like industrialised percussion immediately sets the tone on ‘Mouvement 1‘ and ‘Mouvement 2‘, coming across like old, cluncking medical equipment. Featured in the latter is a commanding voice, instructing or dictating orders at some unknown orderly, over howls, muffled screams and metallic clunks and scrapes. It reminds me of a particular scene in Rob Zombie’s film, House of 1000 Corspes.

Elsewhere, we’re treated to some ritualistic chanting, forlorn piano and sycthing cello on ‘Mouvement 4‘, ensuring that it is easily one of the most unsettling pieces on this record. ‘Mouvement 5‘ follows burying voices and anguished chanting amidst more mechanical percussive work, drawing parallels with the claustrophobia found in various Miasmah records — think both Kreng and Svarte Greiner.

An oppurtunity to pause for breath is scarce here, but it may be found in penultimate number ‘Mouvement 7‘, which allows shards of light, in the form of twinkling piano and glorious string sounds, to break through it’s charred core of broken, fanfare drums. It provides the most startling moment on the record and contrasts the over-bearing atmosphere that dominates throughout.

Full marks for originality, few releases in the netaudio world clearly achieve their aims, especially using such ambigious imagery. Equal parts gripping and chilling, this is not for the faint-hearted. "


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