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Fred Bigot - Mono/Stereo [Holy Mountain - 2009]

Holy space ships. In the ongoing history of cinema and radio plays, extraterrestrial life, be it identied or unidentified, flying or not quite so, has been given a range of voices, from the stereotypical mad banter of little green men to the zooming and whooping of flying saucers. Yet all those sounds sound suddenly mundane and this-wordly when Chant, the opener to the Fred Bigot collection Mono/Stereo, kicks in.

Hallucinatory? Yes. But I guess I’m not imaging things – the label write-up pins the collection down as rife with references to “sounds of attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion and C-beams that glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate”. Oh yeah. Chant is just the sci-fi (psy-fi? That would make sense) mind trip to warm you up though – as Mono kicks in, you’re unavoidably drawn in by the grit and dirt of the almost danceable droning beat that rolls on for a good eight minutes. It’s mind-blowing. It’s fucking wonderful. And it’s only just started.

Fred Bigot is based out of France and has, over the years, developed a sound so clearly his own through an infatuation with obscure garage rock and psychedelic music, all combined and processed in the mind of Bigot and outputted with a dash of techno to it to make things idiosyncratically wonderful. Mono/Stereo collects tracks from two 12”s released around the break of this century, a track from a compilation, and, assumedly, four new tracks. All the sounds on the album are basically the twisted, deformed product of a Roland TR808 with some added filters, distortion and a looping device – minimal and ever so effective.

As Mono/Stereo drones on, we find more tracks in the vein of Mono, but each with a distinct twist to them. Stereo, as per its title, needs to be experienced by headphone – with the hums and grain bobbing left and right increasingly more manically. Binary and Ternary are more straight-forward pounding tracks that sounds like techno if you beat it up good, stole all its lunch money and threw its clothes in the mud – it’s raw and dirty, and you shouldn’t really listen to it, but there you are, listening the shit out of it, and you just can’t help it.

With the exception of Lr Yz, which, like the aforementioned tracks, was previously released, from Extinction onward, the album ventures back into the more abstract spheres of the opening track, and the gritty beats become more subdued, providing only an outer-space bass backdrop to the reverberating zooms of the Nebulon-B frigate cruising by, or laser guns charging to blow your earthly ass to pieces. On nearly every track, Bigot seems to want to make the most of your headphones and  the auditory experience, as sounds bounce around left and right and elsewhere uncontrollably and leave you disoriented. This wonderfully reinforces the sense of space, of roominess, of distance – making the whole thing sound like a field recording sent to us from a galaxy far, far away.

Mono/Stereo is a massive victory and a hugely enjoyable disc to boot. Bouncing – literally – back and forth between gritty almost-techno and spaced-out sound scapes, it presents a kind of War of the Worlds gone horribly wrong – or, rather, gone horribly real. The experience is visceral, intense; and you’ll have to try your very hardest not to get sucked into the vortex of warped house and flat-out weirdness. But hey, why would you want to? Mono/Stereo, by all means, is an experience you shouldn’t want to miss out on.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Sven Klippel
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