El Prêtro Maniaco - Opus Premum [Required Of Rate Records - 2018]El Prêtro Maniaco is a one-man French project that creates an unwell & darkly hued blend of ambience, wonky synth 'n' slurred noise craft, and moody post-industrial sound-scaping. By all accounts, Opus Premum is the projects debut release- which originally appeared as a digital release in late 2015, but here it appears in both physical CDR & digital form on Required Of Rate Records.
The release takes in four tracks, with a total running time of twenty-four minutes- so this is really more of an EP. As debut releases go this has both positive & negative sides to it- on the plus side many of the tracks here have a nicely wonky & ill-at-ease vibe about them, and the sometimes loose feel of the tracks offers up unsettling surprises. On the less successful side- the tracks often seem over too soon, not really fully pushing their potential. Some of the sample work is a little obvious, predictable, and at times mood break (one track features a sample from a Nightmare On Elm Street). And some of the tracks lack identity.
Things start in a most promising fashion with the just under six minutes of "L'homme aux yeux d'insecte"- this is a darkly hazy blend of off-color & slow tone shifting synth simmer, slurred & grainy elector simmer, and wonky unease. Track number two "Ghost Whip"- has a nice Schloss Tegal feel about it, rather bringing to mind the haunted-EVP-meets-slurred-dark-ambient-industrial vibe of 1999’s Black Static Transmission album.
While the other two tracks "Passion D'Outre-tombe" & "Psykaenia (Final Cut)", feel less worthy and often more than little unfocused. The first brings together wound-down carnival-like jaunting synth chugs, with rather uninspired flow of sample flotsam & jetsam, including the one two Freddy’s coming for you from Elm Street. And the final track is made up of building & accelerating synth wows ‘n’ swirls, with the addition ritual rings- all topped with ill-defined & whispered male & female voice samples.
Opus Premum certainly does show promise, and the first two tracks are effective enough. I think there just needs to be a little more focus & flair present, as well as more care on what is used as sample fodder. Then we’ll maybe have a more wholly consistent release from the project.Roger Batty