Wednesday, 23 December 2009

L'Autopsie Phénoménale De Dieu - Kreng (Miasmah Records)

This album won’t fill you with Xmas cheer but Belgian Pepijn Caudron has produced an exceptional piece of work. It’s a virtuoso studio performance that interweaves samples from movies and music to create an aura of menace and melancholy that doesn’t let up. Like a doomed film noir character for whom there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, hopes of anything lifting your spirits are futile. Yet I find this recording gratifying for that very reason. There are passages of great poignancy (a woman sobs to the sound of Chopin on ‘Meisje In Auto’) as well as brooding menace (‘Transmutation Device’). Subtle rhythms arise with brush strokes on cymbals or minimal drum beats...a bell tolls...piano melodies come and go, as does an operatic vocal...all serving to suggest tragedy and loss. Some of it is reminiscent of Morricone, and Hermann’s soundtrack for ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ towards the end of on one of the most powerful pieces, ‘Kolossus’. The last word goes to someone saying ‘Thank you ladies and gentlemen for your boundless enthusiasm’, which sounds to me like a sample from a ‘live’ jazz recording, but I could be wrong. Either way, it’s perhaps an ironic inclusion for a ‘performance’ that deserves applause even though it won't elevate you the way an Art Blakey gig would.

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