Friday, 26 November 2010

L'Etrange Mr Whinster - Horrific Child

Jean-Pierre Massiera’s bonkers but brilliant album from ’76, released by crate-diggers extraordinaire, Finders Keepers. It’s been out since March, so I don’t know why The Wire has only just got around to reviewing it in the December issue. Still, it prompted me to listen again and discover once more just how amazing this album is. ‘Frayeur’ and ‘H.I.A’ are the best of the three tracks – total sensory derangement. ‘Frayeur’ combines bursts of proto-Punk rock spliced in with tribal chants and ghoulish vocals. It’s like Serge gone horrorcore, and talking of SG, this belongs in the same sphere of French eccentricity/genius. Imagine SG’s ‘Percussions’ album on acid. In a way, it prefigures a lot of what was to follow in terms of mixing the tribal sounds and tape technology by the likes of 23 Skidoo. ‘H.I.A’ is even more astonishing, a 16min soundtrack to your nightmare which features the voice of what sounds like Alpha 60 as the protagonist opens creaking doors, hears a gothic organ, runs for his life and so on. It’s ‘Alphaville’ meets Hammer horror. Massiera was way ahead of the ‘Hauntology’ scene, and this has no doubt influenced many of its practitioners. Around the halfway mark the spooked vocals are accompanied by the clip-clop of a horse and hoot of an owl – what the hell is going on? It appears to be a story, of sorts, but you have to make it up yourself.

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