2015 repress. "Noise may have lost its power to offend. Silence hasn't" --Dan Warburton. Erik Skodvin, a prolific artist in his own right as Svarte Greiner and with Deaf Center, has developed a well-earned reputation for releasing beautifully disturbing music on his label Miasmah. Acts such as Elegi and Jacaszek set the bar high, creating masterpieces of contemporary doom-laden experimental music. L'Autopsie Phénoménale de Dieu, the incredible 2009 debut album from Belgian artist Kreng, carries on this tradition. On initial listening, L'Autopsie Phénoménale de Dieu immediately presents itself as a fully realized body of work, with focus, flow, and continuity. It may therefore come as a surprise to discover that the album mainly contains recordings created for a variety of separate theater productions, and even more of a surprise to learn that the compositions found here are sample-based constructions. The pieces incorporate sounds and material from a variety of sources: free jazz, electronically generated sounds, classical modernism, and vintage geographical recordings. The subtlety of the techniques Kreng has employed in the creation of these pieces is simply stunning. Discordant segments of wailing top-end violins give way to clunking rhythmic passages of metal marimbas and tuned percussion, free roaming passages of rasping low-end brass, and the shuffle of free jazz. The work recalls Prestige era Moondog, as well as aspects of Harry Partch's instrumentation via mid- to latter-day period Tom Waits. Atonal ambiance and slow builds, eerie segues into low murk, and a haunting solo soprano voice are all pulled together to make perfect sense, often in terrifying ways. The creative process in Kreng's twisted soundscapes works perhaps in parallel with the abstract and often disturbing work of the Abattoir Fermé theater company, which has used many of the scores found here in a variety of their productions. In this context, the dark and threatening moods the album creates suggest it may house more subversive, ritualistic, even occult undertones; Kreng's music is based upon the possibility of silence as a confrontational weapon. L'Autopsie Phénoménale de Dieu also features suitably twisted artwork coordinated by Erik Skodvin, presented here in full green and black color. Includes download code.
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