Tag Archives: France

Phoenix – Bankrupt! (2013)

Phoenix – Bankrupt! (2013)

Phoenix - Bankrupt! (2013)

Phoenix are an indie rock band from Verseilles, France and Bankrupt! is their fifth album.

Bankrupt marks a bit of a diversion from previous albums, with a more synth-led sound, and bigger rounder guitar sounds. There is a lot of influence from the 1980s post-punk pop and it is all very slick and well produced. However, I found it mostly boring and a lot of the twee electro-sound effects to be a distraction from the rest of the music. It is pretty uninspired and not very innovative.

There were a couple of highlights in the form of title track, Bankrupt!, a 7-min complex multi-textured polyrhythmic masterclass, bordering on prog-rock at times. If the rest of the album was derived from this track, it would border on genius. I love this track. Another good track, and I am reticent to mention it as it is a bonus track, is the Grizzly Bear remix of Entertainment, the opening track; which is given a glitchy make-over adding to the interest.

Favorite tracks: Bankrupt!, Entertainment – Grizzly Bear remix

Spotify link: Phoenix – Bankrupt!
Sneak peak: 

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Sebkha-Chott – Ne[XXX]t Epilog (2012)

Sebkha-Chott - Ne[XXX]t Epilog (2012)

Sebkha-Chott are an avant-garde metal band from France, who I first discovered on Nagah Mahdi, their excellent second album. In the same way as Magma, GWAR or Secret Chiefs 3, Sebkha-Chott have generated an entire mythology surrounding their work. A mythology as intricate and manic, politically, geographically and socially, as their music; the band exist in Ohreland, a world not related to Earth, the latter they only enter for their “stopovers” (or gigs as the rest of the world calls them). 

Wailing sax, brutal blast beats, funky bass, dynamic shifts, metal guitars, ethereal interludes, Jazzy breaks and structured freak outs, This album will certainly appeal to fans of Mr Bungle, Fantomas and the like, with hyperactive rhythm changes and well-choreographed noise. Several listens wouldn’t even do justice to the depth and intricacy herein. Zappa, Primus, Fantomas, Tom Waits, Magma, Mr Bungle, Residents, Zappa, et al. are all represented and all clash in a glorious package.

Favourite tracks: Tourista et Fugue, Ballade Bouree et Courante, Saphonie Pastorale

Spotify link: Sebkha-Chott – The Ne[xxx]t Epilog
Bandcamp link: http://sebkhachott.bandcamp.com/album/the-ne-xxx-t-epilog-v-09
Sneak peak: 

Igorrr – Hallelujah (2012)

Igorrr - Hallelujah (2012)

Igorrr (real name Gautier Serre) is a French breakcore artist, drawing influence from just about any genre he can get his ears on and generally submitting the listener to a brutal aural attack.

It was a few years ago that the comparisons between Jackson Pollack’s action paintings and Jazz music were highlighted to me. The free-flowing painting technique was likened to improvisation across the changes and the movement across his giant canvasses to the movement up and down the scales. It changed the way I felt about Pollack, and I began to envisage music in other visual art works; and likewise visual art in music.

I am reminded of an artist, though I can’t remember the name, who used to take antique books and tear out pages containing images and paint over them, and, through destruction, ended up creating something new, something different. Igorrr’s fourth album Hallelujah follows that mode; it is, at times, akin to taking a medieval Bible and drawing big penises all over it.

Genres attacked include opera (Tout Petit Moineau), baroque chamber (Damaged Wig), chansons (Absolute Psalm) and Eastern European folk (Vegetable Soup). These are treated to an abuse of breakcore beats and metal blastbeats by the truckload. In is an album of stark and deliberate contrasts, slow–fast, loud–quiet, old–new. It is also evident that Serre hears the music hidden within the noises of life, sampling a vacuum cleaner, a sheep, ducks; for that, I am joyful.

However, in spite of all the action here and the sonic interest, the majority of the tracks are fairly formulaic: soft music, then churned into oblivion, soft music reprised and then destroyed. Next track, repeat.

Igorrr’s 2010 album Nostril was altogether more exploratory, more experimental, more daring; Hallelujah, by comparison, just seems altogether much “safer”. That’s not to say that it is not skillfully and lovingly crafted, it certainly is, and there is a lot enjoyment to be had, but it is just a little shallow. I think that it would be a lot more shocking and interesting to those who didn’t know that this sort of music existed; such as in the instance of the teenager playing the album to his “uncool” parents, and I just don’t feel Igorrr has repeated the quality of Nostril.

I have a great soft spot for breakcore and I do like Igorrr, so I hope on his future releases, he ditches his safety net and gets lost in the violent aural wilderness again.

Favourite tracks: Scarletti 2.0, Vegetable Soup, Tootphase

Spotify link: Igorrr – Hallelujah
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