CD, OPN Productions, 2009
Let’s examine, briefly, the phenomenon of certain styles of music proliferating in certain geographic areas. Israeli DJs and producers like Skazi, Dark Soho and Infected Mushroom took over the world of psytrance years ago. If it wasn’t for Mexican acts like Hocico and Cenobita we wouldn’t have a harsh electro scene. Canada gave birth to some of the finest proto-EBM the world has ever seen, with seminal acts like Skinny Puppy and Frontline assembly still churning out electronic propaganda. We also can consider the former Soviet Union’s contributions to dark ambient, or the extreme metal mania of the frozen north of Europe. Somehow, through all of this, France became the centre for bizarre experimentations and unlikely hybridisations, the result being that we have artists like Lingouf, Igorrr and now, Gerostenkorp, creating electronic music that defies classification and laughs in the face of traditional musical norms, structures and instrumentation.
“Terre Brûlée” is therefore an entirely unique achievement. Gerostenkorp combine everything from sampled breathing, to treated vocals, to textured synthesizer melodies, to didgeridoos (and more besides). What’s particularly odd about this is that the entire record evokes a dreamlike quality, not the unsettling discordance you’d normally associate with experimental and free-form composition like this.
That said, the dream it inspires is not always a pleasant one; the album carries with it more than its fair share of uneasiness, too. Possibly this is just a symptom of the theatricality of the music, exposing a painted, plastic façade that leaves you wondering what really hides beneath… And the performance doesn’t end there. Masks, elaborate makeup, complex lighting and more are all characteristics of their live shows. Generally, I’d find this level of over-analysis of one’s own work to be pretentious, but the soft, appealing nature of “Terre Brûlée” allows me to forget all about who is responsible for the music, and concentrate solely on the wash of subtly manipulated sounds themselves.
More IDM than experimental per se, but there’s still nearly as much attention given to the process as the result, making for a well-balanced (if unclassifiable) album that will resonate equally well with fans of either.
— David vander Merwe