CD, Ant-Zen, 2008
With “Area Keloza”, French hardcore/gabber artist Lingouf joins the ranks of the Ant-Zen catalogue. Recognized for his unique sound within hardcore and breakcore categories, Lingouf’s Vincent Ingouf is a competent visual artist as well, reflected both in the subversively cartoonish and imaginative album artwork, and in a fascinating website full of clever animations and hidden puzzles.
Although only six tracks are offered on “Area Keloza”, the majority of them sport longer running times than most found on previous albums. With the shortest track at eight-and-a-half minutes and the lengthiest stretching to twelve, the album gives listeners that much more square wave bang for their buck. Despite opting for longer pieces and fewer of them, Lingouf sticks to his stylistic guns, recasting the formula of his established work – chattering, overdriven beats versus rich atmospheric backing – with positive results. Despite the daunting prospect when faced with protracted, jittering tempests, listeners learn “Area Keloza” rarely becomes self-absorbed, only demanding.
Whilst opening track “Bioless Game” features cyberpunk fixture Kenji Siratori, this banality can be overlooked by scrutinizing Lingouf’s signature sound. From the outset, while Siratori mutters disturbingly in the background, a martial cadence drops in and out, and yawning spaces open to be filled with ambient noise. Scattered strains of breakcore emerge between the oppressive four-to-the-floor rhythms, which themselves are constantly tweaked, shifted and evolved. It soon becomes clear that, with such epic spans of time at his disposal, Lingouf has the luxury of allowing each composition to blossom and transform, stimulating growth and deconstruction through several distinct phases, even as the merciless beats drive them ever onward. “Xozpoqorpe” goes from initial breakbeats to verge on powernoise before swerving into atonal chaos and pumping rave synths, while “Filupoy” settles into its own rolling march even as bleeping acid electronics and some yelping lady vie for prominence.
“Area Keloza” derives from the distorted kick drum of hardcore techno, but the comparatively relaxed b.p.m. of “Harpman” and “Bioless Game” takes the genre’s presumed amphetamine pacing and slings it through a vat of hot fudge. Faster “Doyo” (think shrill, highly textured paranoia mixed with extensive breakdowns) and the crashing, white-knuckle title track are more typical. At once gooey and crunchy, the tracks never cease moving and morphing, building and breaking, as if Lingouf is toying with his audience’s curiosity. Significantly, voices are inserted and distorted to great effect throughout the album, a mischievous puppeteering of tortured human souls ensnared in unforgiving, machine-ravaged environments.
— Dutton Hauhart