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Mark Hamn – Je Déchire L’Ongle Aux Criminels

Mark Hamn - Je Déchire L'Ongle Aux Criminels

CD-R, Afe Records, 2007

The press release purports that “his musical approach is better described as a cinematic journey” and mentions that the artist, a graduate in Musicology and Musical Heritage, has written a thesis on the history of film music. His knowledge and fascination with music in film is very obvious when listening to “Je Déchire L’Ongle Aux Criminels,” the first physical release from Southern Italy’s Francesco Giannico, a.k.a. Mark Hamn, after a number of free downloadable albums.
It would be fair to say that this album is a bit hit and miss – opener “Les Justes” is a chirruping, burbling confection of internet noise akin to tuning a radio, replete with half heard whispers and fragments of conversation, fairly pretty but basically unremarkable. The decidedly Final Fantasy-esque woodwind instrument loop in “Á Partir Est D’ici La Seule Solution” bookends a mishmash of guitar melodies (betraying Hamn’s indie-guitarist roots) intertwined with some frankly irritating high frequencies (which are apparently computer generated, leaving one wondering whether Hamn was under the impression that making his music partly unlistenable was somehow making it better), and “Malaises Douces” becomes boring quickly, with intermittent squeaks and blips doing nothing to detract from what sounds surprisingly like nothing so much as a Nirvana guitar track.
When Hamn tones down the feedback, however, there are some definite high points, notably the beautifully understated menace of “Le Besoin De La Réflexion” and the dreamlike quality of “La Charnière Du Temps,” which paves the way for star track “Le Vent Fait Un Tour En Dehors Á La Notification De Moi,” bringing to mind David Lynch, or rather Angelo Badalamenti, in a particularly glitchy mood. Closing track “Automatism De la Dernière Heure” is contemplative, with an almost hymnal quality that provides a fitting end, and you can’t help wishing at this point that there were perhaps one or two further tracks to allow Hamn to develop more fully his cinematic stride.
A moderate success then, and certainly an artist to keep an eye on.


— Catherine C.

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