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- Machinations by Pierre Bastien
9/10 Brian Staff review, 30 November 2012
Never really heard previous sonic endeavours from this chap. He’s a Parisian composer knocking on 60 years old whose first UK-released material was for Rephlex a decade ago. He builds his own idiosyncratic instruments from items such as Meccano, stationery, odd household ephemera and then laces his startling music with dusty DIY recordings and enigmatic samples. This new set includes a bonus DVD although what sonic delights that disc yields will have to remain a mystery until I get home tonight.
Mr. Sebastien gleefully constructs woozy, heavy-lidded stumbling abstract jazz-scapes with his nutty professor machines, music that comes over as mischievous and faintly inebriated rather than po-faced and difficult. There’s an enormous amount of sleepy, slippery rhythms and bendy loops gently colliding or embracing before dripping liquidly off one another. The track titles here are all palindromes such as ‘Now On’ which comprises a deep ponderous bass loop and a rubber-band style twang with a gorgeous smoky blues vocal plus bags of rich atmosphere and scintillating detail. This is adventurous, playful and wondrous music with a warm, tactile organic touch that words cannot fully explain.
There’s quite a musique-concrete feel to some of the clattering aural junk and floppy-faced soundtrack-esque eccentricity that collapses around your ears during ‘Machinations’ yet melodically and rhythmically this music is nowhere near as challenging, grating or indeed alienating as I first expected. For a label well-known for its own electronic “genre” - Braindance - Pierre’s fascinating hypno-scapes and oddball rustic brain-teasers slot neatly into such a category for this album has that impish joie de vivre typical of James and Wilson-Claridge’s esteemed imprint, yet sounds like nothing else on earth.
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