brainwashed

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Phillppe Petit, "Henry: The Iron Man"

cover imageAs loathe as I am of the term, perhaps this is conceptually the best approach to the "mashup" in recent memory.  Rather than just slapping together two disparate songs with the same BPM for the sake of being "hip", Petit (a member of Strings of Consciousness and head of the BiP_HOp label) has instead created a soundtrack synthesizing the classic Lynch film with Shinya Tsukamoto’s esoteric cyberpunk nightmare, resulting in a cacophonous, disorienting mess of sound.

 

Beta-Lactam Ring

This is one of those faux soundtracks that doesn’t require any familiarity with the conceptual source material to enjoy, but the characteristics of both films shine through in the composition.  The opening "Salaryman’s Dream" jumps in immediately with mangled and flanged string tones, rustling static  and the occasional random percussive crash.  Over the clicks and deep, pulsing bass assaults, the electronic wreckage begins to resemble industrial presses crushing metal garbage into cubes, and one can almost visualize the metal fetishist from Tetsuo looking on in a sexual frenzy.  Swirling harsh alien ambience envelopes almost everything, while mutant horns sound like lost radio transmissions from Sun Ra still traveling through space.  The long piece closes on banging, almost traditional industrial rhythms.

The second track, "In Tokyo Henry Spencer is Fine" brings in more of Petit’s vinyl fetish, layering complex surface noise and sped up guitar spinning off vinyl.  The collage of noise is more restrained here, but still menacing, with blown out feedback tones blasting through.  The sound oscillates between noise and softer sounds, but the overall sound is alienating industrial chaos.  Petit throws in the a bit of the FM3 Buddha Machine as well, but under heavy treatment and processing.

The closing track, "Lady in the Radiator Meets the Fetishist" again lays on the surface noise heavily, while adding stuttering vinyl scrapes and rising guitar feedback, invoking a sense of lurking dread that gets more and more intense.  The track moves at a limp, like a slow moving lava flow destroying everything in its path.  Through the flaming muck I can hear more brain damaged jazz horns with tremolo-ed fragments of techno synth, and the track becomes an unending battle between jazz, techno, and pure noise.

Even without using any of the original source material, Petit combines the schizophrenic noise chaos of Eraserhead with the abstract industrial dystopia of Tetsuo, and the combination works out very well.  The symbolism is wonderful here, though as a listening experience, it’s almost too intense.  The sense of dread and menace never relents, there are no quiet or introspective movements, the darkness just continues on and on.  Perhaps that’s the point, though!

samples:


 

The Eye: Video of the Day

White Rainbow

YouTube Video


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Tindersticks, "Claire Denis Soundtracks 1996-2009"

cover imageThis five disc box set collects all of Tindersticks' soundtracks for the French director Claire Denis. Dating back to their classic second album and continuing right up until their current incarnation, their relationship with Denis has borne exquisite musical fruit that covers a surprising spectrum of styles. This collection is an absolute treasure, covering the two previously released soundtracks with four unreleased works and each one is a masterpiece.


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