Filed under: album reviews | Tags: ambient, autopsie phénoménale, classical, dark, grimoire, kreng, lynch, miasmah, quay
Kreng aka Pepijn Caudron creates music mostly out of samples and found sounds. Magic ingredients for a witch’s brew: you need vervain gathered from unsunned spots, midnight tears of a virgin, mandrake watered with cow’s milk… you need rare stuff. That’s Caudron’s job to find some. Be it free or ambient jazz, Z movie sounds, opera songs, throat singing, orchestral grandeur, casual noise or contemporary chamber music, he knows how to pick up the right thing. Already in his (fantastic and fantastically-titled) previous album ‘L’Autopsie Phénoménale de Dieu’, you were struck by unthinkable yet congruous combos: ‘Meisje in Auto’ combines 4 bars from a slowed down prelude by Chopin, lazy jazz drumming and a sobbing woman, ‘Tinseltown’ puts together exotic percussions, looped bits from a Sibelius sonatine, reed instruments and who knows what else. Such combinations might look common to passionate listeners of weird music but the science employed by Caudron to lay them out is most uncommon. Pure mastery.
‘Grimoire’, Kreng’s last output for Miasmah, could be the tale of near-death experiences or opium dreams. A voice in the first track, Karcist, puts you in situation: “Let go of the earth, you don’t belong here! Go towards the light!” before a couple of drones and a creepy breath fills the space. Later, ‘Wrak’ is how a modern symphony could (should) sound like, its climax is reached when the initial elegiac melody on strings gets overwhelmed by bursts and blasts from hell, free jazz dissonances and chaos, a carousel gone mad. Right after that comes this superb Purcell-like consort music, all elegant posture and baroque melancholia. Slowly until the end, the melody and the sound become more and more stretched out, mufffled, slooow, like swallowed by a weak black hole, defeated by growing distortions. This is the great, death-wishing ‘Ballet Van De Bloedhoeren’.
Caudron shows all the way his love for good old instrumental music from the past centuries but unlike much of today’s ‘modern classical’ music, this doesn’t sound like a collection of clean-cut corny harmonies meant for urban people tired of urban life. It’s much more intriguing. Everything takes shape within the frame of some unspeakable narrative (I wish I had seen an Abbatoir Fermé production). Kreng’s soundtrack-ish music would definitely suit Lynch’s and Quay Brothers’ overrefined atmospheres. Strongly anchored to typically Romantic Era themes, it brings in mind oniric images from Redon or Füssli, dark and unknown words from Huysmans or Poe. It reveals the luminous edges of darkness, recalls the great decadent works, inspires awe.
L’Autopsie Phénoménale de Dieu (2009):
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