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L'Autopsie Phenomenale De Dieu (2009) , 7/10
Grimoire (2011) , 6/10

Kreng, the project of Belgian artist Pepijn Caudron (member of the artistic team at a Belgian theater company), specialized in highly sophisticated impressionistic soundscapes concocted out of drones, found sounds and chamber instruments, on L'Autopsie Phenomenale De Dieu (Miasmah, 2009).
The gentle piano pattern of Na De Sex morphs into a claustrophobic atmosphere for strings and cadaverous jazz. The subdued industrial polyrhythm of Tinseltown liquefies into the fragile crescendo of a carillon-like melody. The quasi-silenced sparse tones of Miranda's Onrustige Slaap feel like a deconstructed Ennio Morricone soundtrack. The film sample of Kolossus is used to launch a tribal dance the eventually dissolves into fuzzy drones and minuscule percussion. The general mood of melancholy overflows in Meisje In Auto, that has a woman sobbing while listening to a Chopin prelude over a lounge-style accompaniment (note the three layers of movement: Chopin is playing, the woman is sobbing, and we listen to this combination at the sound of a jazzy combo). The orchestral instruments create a sense of tragedy by droning aimlessly in Nerveuze Man, a piece that opens and closes with the sample of a crackling opera record. Het Wordt Ouder is a sonata for bluesy beat, soprano sample and electronic nightmare. Kreng clearly enjoys creating confused masses of cryptic sounds like In De Berm Part 3 and Transmutation Device, although they may sound like distractions.
Of course, the limitation of this work is that every piece is merely a fragment. It exists per se and in se. There is no further meaning. A few of them attempt a narrative but mostly this is aesthetic narcissism for the sake of aesthetic narcissism.
The notable exception would be the six-movement Suite Voor Scenes Met Mist, that opens with the apocalyptic rumble of Mythobarbital and continues with the ticking and buzzing wall of sound of Nimmermeer, decaying into the plaintive string sonata De Storm and its vortex of drones only to indulge in the humorous game of sampled voices of Slaapliedje. The longest movement, The Black Balloon & The Armadillo, is also the most threatening: a march of the androids and the zombies amid disturbing intergalacting signals. The ending, Merope, is a surreal parade of drums, strings and piano that provides the backdrop for the morphing of a soprano into a violin and viceversa.

The tone of Grimoire (Miasmah, 2011) is, if possible, even more sinister. After the subliminal overture Karcist, the seven-minute Le Bateleur stages what sound like footsteps (and later like heartbeats) against a backdrop of droning instruments and liquid glitches. Balkop is similarly spectral and solemn. The nine-minute Wrak repeats over and over again a nostalgic melodic fragment that even survives a free-jazz onslaught. The composer, clearly fascinated by the classical canon, also flirts with the faux neoclassical lied Opkropper, the faux symphonic poem Petit Grimoire, and the deconstructed baroque music of Ballet Van De Bloedhoeren. The seven-minute Satyriasis is ultimately a crescendo of drones that leads to some abstract chamber music with rock percussion. There seems to be less intelligence at work here than in the previous album.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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(Copyright © 2010 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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