To those of us who live near the dark, music has given more than ever over the past four or five years. A flood of releases in black, a never-ending string of pessimist and opaque sounding records, and in such a wide range of styles, too (neo-classical, new ambient, hauntology and everything containing the word doom), that has left us breathless. Saturated with all that activity and, most of all, quality, we now have to stretch the filter even more and mark the difference between excellence and the sublime. A recent example: “Grimoire”, the second album by Kreng, the project led by Belgian Pepijn Caudron.
If you’re still asking yourself when was the last time you felt fear when listening to a record, you can stop looking, because whenever it was, this is the next time. Of the records released in 2011 so far, few will sound more tense, disturbing, evocative, gloomy and sombre than this radical trip to the heart of darkness, on which, moreover, the precision, wideness and deepness of the sound is overwhelming, a huge step ahead in the short but impressive career of the composer. Caudron uses every weapon he’s got to reach a goal that seemed complex (to make his sound even darker, if possible, than on his debut, the highly recommendable “L’Autopsie Phénoménale De Dieu”), and he does it with a meticulousness and rigor that sets him apart from many other artists with similar ideas but lesser talents.
On “Grimoire”, dark ambient, isolationism, soundtrack music, noir, concrete music, neo-classical, free jazz and even opera come together, perfectly organised and integrated in one roadmap, treated discreetly, with restraint and an organic sense, one of the most solid and convincing examples of expressive cleansing of recent times. The formal sound leaves no room for doubt and consolidates itself on the scene as a landmark master class. But even more astonishing is its evocative ability and its sensory and emotional impact. It’s impossible to name all the images, visions, ideas and suggestions the record generates: Europe between wars, a new cine noir, epidemics, apocalyptic viruses, abandoned cities, psychiatric hospitals without control, illegal cabarets, pagan rituals, death marches, strange and unrecognisable cult. “Grimoire” exceeds all expectations, not only because of the translation of fear to music but also because of the way he manages to reflect and capture our fascination for the dark side in all its splendour.
Petit Grimoire + Wrak