Category Archives: Reviews

debased shapes review at volcanic tongue

Second full-length album from this amazing Australian homemade instruments orchestra, now upgraded to a seven piece big band: Debased Shapes is a revelation, with the group moving on from the weirdo Sun Ra/Moondog hands-on DIY improvisations of their first album into a liminal zone of left field pop synthesis and ‘debased’ songcraft. Parts of this beautiful album almost sound like a Scratch Orchestra re-imagining of the early Rough Trade sound, stuff like the Raincoats or even The Swell Maps re-crafted for clunky hands-on sound sculptures, with female vocals somehow directing every squawk and dunt towards a vision of psychedelic pop that comes out of invention more than technique. There’s still a dazzling afro-primitive free jazz feel to the choruses of honking geese and thrifty percussion but they feel more like hallucinatory song forms here, true DIY imaginings of heavenly pop hits. A stunning amalgam of sound sculpture, improvised percussive freak out and super personal pop vision. Still no one like them, highly recommended!

All text copyright © David Keenan/Volcanic Tongue
unless otherwise noted

Atelier Méditerranée in Still Single

Members of Cheveu organized this recording with a group of mentally handicapped children, but before you can say Reynols (oh, go ahead and say it anyway), the end result of placing these kids in front of synthesizers and microphones precipitates an avant-garde tonic as bracing as you can hope. “Méditerranée” is like a high tension line snapped loose and whipping around the proximity, a bramble of guitar delay, percussion both live and digital, swarming keyboards, a high pressure atmosphere of effects, and a choir of shapeless, menacing voices. “Flunch” starts off with the ring of a synthesizer and some curious French vocalizing, but soon dissipates in a haze of industrial key pound and tantrum-like excess. “Artena” closes the record with droning, bent church organs that quickly lose their very form against vocals from the group and a communal, agitated descent down the drain hole of drone and irrational, spontaneous musicianship. I wish more singles that came through here were as interesting as this one, and credit must be passed – again – to labels like Bruit-Direct, who have never chosen the smoother path as to what they release to the world. Outstanding, densely (dis)organized music for enthusiasts of LIFE itself. (Doug Mosurock)

Atelier Méditerranée:
Not exactly sure why some messy splatters of electro-junk are so much more palatable than others, but this wacky single by France’s Atelier Méditerranée (who appear to be more of a “workshop” for kids than an actual musical group) is the type of freakout I heartily enjoy.

La Ligne Claire:
It’s slow-moving, off-key and gracious, like a drunk relative trying to pretend they aren’t as they stumble toward the fridge. I’m reminded of Menstruation Sisters’ quieter moments, Reynols interpreting the Velvet Underground catalog, or The Foams, had they grown up in a barn.

Bruit Direct has been on a roll lately, nicely stocking the “Euro-WTF” racks of any decent record shop.

gutsofdarkness january 2011

Scorpion Violente, c’est le nom de groupe que j’aurais aimé inventer. Tout y est : le dérèglement syntaxique en guise de pseudo du flic pourri hors de contrôle, celui qui t’observe derrière ses lunettes aviateur, le jean serré et la moustache virile ; ou bien celui du pimp gay TTBM, le dard dressé, qui te foutra la mandale du siècle parce que t’as pas soulevé assez d’hommes mariés, et tu l’auras bien méritée celle-là, feignant. Ouais, il y a tout ça derrière Scorpion Violente, du sexe marchand, de la tristesse post-coïtale, de la violence gratuite, des mecs qui serrent d’autres mecs parce qu’il faut bien tromper l’etouffante tension d’une nuit trop chaude. Allez, pose ton blouson, mecton, et viens danser avec moi sur la piste souillée de sueur et de sang séché, là où se jaugent les mâles en quête de nouveau territoire, viens me faire vibrer au rythme de tes brusques ondulations, ce soir c’est le Scorpion qui joue, laisse-toi transporter, ça monte en toi, ça te rend plus fort, c’est bien, mais pars pas en bad, hein mecton, reste avec moi surtout, que t’aies conscience de ce qui va se passer… c’est tout ça Scorpion, de la syncope cokée, un son tripé qui pue le vomi de houblon à dix mètres, une main aux ongles douteux, dangereusement insistante, qui n’aurait jamais dû s’égarer dans la moiteur de ton skinny pants. (samedi 15 janvier 2011)

etrangeressac aout 2010

C’est le duo dance version « Grande Triple Alliance de l’Est »: faussement technique, vraiment niqué. Nos deux gaillards aux pseudos de mercenaires cuvent de l’électronique pornographique dans un coin d’architecture. S’obstinent sur des notes, des combinaisons. Montent le son car il faut que ça sèche net la communication de proximité. Ils font ça avec l’aplomb de survivants balafrés mais la froideur affichée n’est qu’un gel psycho-activé: en leur for intérieur ils bouillonnent de crasserie punk à la bière chaude. Sous leurs ongles noirs ils font des miracles, catapultent un énorme night club suitant dans un PMU sordide de rase campagne, séquestrent le taulier à coup de jack et font péter les réserves dans une volée de tables. Même dans ton bunker ils viendront te chercher. Tu les entends. Ils sont là. Scorpion Violente.
Max Dembo

still single July 2010

New mindless electro minimalism from France, part of the whole crew with the logo (I suppose it is called “La Grande Triple Alliance Internationale de l’Est,” an umbrella operation for A.H. Kraken, the Anals, the Feeling of Love and related parties). It took a few listens to grok whether this duo was taking the piss, but there is a method here, even if it’s one that sets the drum pattern apart from the speed of the notes played on the synth, either to disorient, or to show the listener that they don’t know/don’t care how to make it work like everybody else. That little difference is what makes “Roma Violente,” a long-ish, static disco-minimal melody into the serious track that it is. Examples on the flipside are more spare and with somewhat of an industrial bend – “Mi Pute Mi Soumise” marches along with distortion and death in tow, while “Ich Kann Nicht” delivers the Germanic, stark yelling and murderous shocks you might expect from such a title. Another great record from B-D that doesn’t fit neatly into any one style or category. 500 copies. (Doug Mosurock)

20jazzfunkgreats June 2010

Scorpion Violente’s Untitled 12, out in Bruit Direct Disques is one of the most brutal packages to recently arrive at 20jazzfunkgreats bunker. It contains 3 awesome slabs of cold war psy-ops, martial nihilistic mechanics and cyborg bass boost that will fulfil all your dirty proto-NWD dreams. Rome Violente is our choice, it does indeed sound like the Flirts’ ragged, switchblade touting cousin, the one who crawled from the gutter after being raised by mutant vermin. Or P.I.L.’s submission for the Escape from New York theme, sadly intercepted by U.S. Border Police before it reached the hands of our man John Carpenter.

Minimal jacking music at its undead best, fear the city.
20jfg

siltblog january 2010

Men who ain’t afraid to be seen in public sportin midriff’s might beg to differ, but I’m gonna give it to the French as the true purveyors of Prog Rock. Say what you will about Canterbury, Krautrock, blah, blah blah, at the end of the day you’ll be tipplin Calvados & sweatin aspic like you was a Spam loaf come to life. The Gallic power of persuasion. And they’s invented Musique Concrete too & ain’t no flatass hiphugger’s anywhere disputin that posit. Cause it ain’t conjecture. It’s truth. They did not however invent Punk, though it is their penchant to reinvent-theoretically-& lately they’s been at the forefront of some Chrome damaged, post No Wave, syntho oriented destructo-blat that’s as good as anything goin. So when a couple of them from there called Accident Du Travail decided to collaborate for a project of Ondes Martenot recordings (LOOK IT UP!-Capt’n Siltbreeze), I was expectin shards of wood & pearly keys bein strewn from here to Timbuktu. But paint my face ‘n call me Marcel Marceau if this ain’t a lovely & beautifully paced ep. Comprised of 24 minutes’ve lusterous hamonics as well as some tweaked melodies, this really taps into the cranium like a perfect bridge between Boulez & Lard Free. Great modal progressions too, hey, if this was as ’75 as it sounds, you can bet your Birkenstocks it would’ve been on that NWW list. And if you didn’t know it was members of Cheveu & Cradle Of Smurf whats behind this, well, you wouldn’t know it. On a cold day like we got here, these sounds really warm up the room. Bruit Direct delivers another winner, hat’s off to’em.
Tom Lax