CD, Raging Planet, 2005
Mécanosphère are masters of morbid paranoia, and their third release, “Limb Shop,” engenders fascination with the body and its many separable parts. Imagine an emporium of human limbs, organs, tissue and bone, stacked high and ready to wear. Regard the body as an organic mechanism with interchangeable parts, a living metaphor for instruments and their functions. “Limb Shop” shivers and crawls, entwining harsh, grooving dub/hip-hop rhythms with whispers, screams and exhortations. Heavy downtempo breaks seethe and crash over lyrics delivered in Portuguese, French and English. Percussive elements (often live drums) pin together grinding guitars, overdriven synths and jazzy saxophone embellishments. Striations of noise lash out and drone threateningly as protesting parts are rearranged (“Coagulate”), and bass hits drop to treacherous, bowel-shaking depths (“Types of Aberration Dub”).
On “Limb Shop,” Mécanosphère’s rough tendencies regularly retreat into mournful dirges. “Mutilation Site” begins with unsettling atmospherics, growling voices and plucked strings that eventually explode into demonic rage. The death-march pacing of “Radial Light” is buttressed with classic Cold War samples. Schizophrenic, cut-up vocal nonsense and nervous strings in “Khlebnikov” offer a funerary tribute to Russian Futurism. Several tracks on “Limb Shop,” subdued and moody at their beginnings, transform into aggressive and discomfiting arrays of power, beats and noise. Variations on the human voice inevitably carry an integral role, from the crying that becomes hysterical laughing at the end of “Diagram of Bones,” to the whispered dementia of “Circus Gone I.”
“Limb Shop” is an enterprise in anatomical repurposing, a shifting array of pieces ghosting through the jumbled strata of funneled energy. The album imparts a bleak aura, as if there is no escape from its fragmented malignancy. Steeped in textures of noise, breaks and jazz, Mécanosphère freely experiments with amputation and prosthetics; cutting off and making whole.
— Dutton Hauhart