Pas Musique - The Phoenix [Alrealon Musique - 2019]The Phoenix is the latest excursion from Brooklyn, NY based experimental/electronic collective Pas Musique.- who where founded in 1995 by outsider sound artist Robert L. Pepper. Over the years, Pas Musique have released collaborations with some of the more recognized names in the genre,(Faust, Rapoon, Zev, etc..) and have continued to stay fresh and inviting with its compositions and approaches to generating ear worthy electronica in the 21st century.
This collection of tracks was created and influenced by experiences the collective had during their 2016 tour of Indonesia and 2017 European tour. "This music was influenced by the experiences we had while during these tours. There are no lyrics but there are vocals, which are improvised sounds," says Robert Pepper.
"When growing up, I listened to a lot of punk and metal. Most of the time I couldn’t understand what the vocalists were saying unless I read the lyric sheet but the sounds the vocalists made were amazing. So I try to use the same idea but producing improvised vocal sounds by mimicking the style of punk/metal vocalists."
The opening cut, “The Phoenix” is by far my favourite track on this album- its a slow dark industrial edged dirge with metal percussion, analogue drones, clanky chains, and floating shadow like vocals that are simple moaning sounds that complete the dark tone of the track. "The Percussion" initially reminded me of some of the stuff you would hear behind Tom Waits, but as it continued on had elements of Nurse With Wound when in a groove. The next track, “Miss Globule” is nothing like that.. it is full EDM, leaning heavy on the traditional krautrock vibe...think Kraftwerk meets Klaus Schulze...dreamy swashes of analogue patches with a pulsing forward-moving beat.
The third cut, “Electronic Brain” starts with a vocal sample, then dives into a 90's style industrial dance groove, something like My Life With the Thrill Kill Cult would put on a b-side., complete with heavily processed vocals adding to the overall throwback tone of the track. Personally, I felt this track could have been shorter.. it sorta becomes redundant and hard to hold on to by the end of it...just too much of the same thing over and over and for too long. In contrast, IMO. The next cut “Ancient Culture in a Warp Drive” could have been longer, rather than the shortest cut on the album. It leans into the progressive kraut electronic vibe...again I was reminded of the dreamy stuff that Schulze does...but just as I was falling into the trance-inducing magick of this track.. it ended. Next, “Xlalo” includes a heavy sampling of a verbal clip describing just who Xlalo the moon god is and that we should worship him..or her.. or them..however, you refer to a god in the correct pronoun. Both of the last two tracks also included prominent guitar parts as part of the mix...with the later one being heavier, and more screaming with some distortion. “Finnish Bedtime Story” is good trance groove electronics...the groove is like flowing water...with a repetitive keyboard riff that helps make the trance easy to find...the vocals are processed and hidden but fun when the creep up on you.
The final track “A New Sheriff in Town” is probably my second favourite cut...it again moves away from traditional EDM beats and creates a different atmosphere using hand percussion tones mixed with bells, laced with spacey bent analogue synth notations and middle eastern influenced guitar riffs. I could close my eyes and see Shiva belly dancing to this groove with her arms flowing in the incense smoke.. and then the clock stopped ticking and it was time to move on...
Overall my personal preferences were for the darker tones and vibes of the first and last cuts on this album. I would prefer to hear something that stayed in that shadowy element rather than stepping out onto the dance floor and trying to play there so much. But it is still a strong album. I never felt the need to end any track and move on to the next one. I would recommend this album to fans of Future Sounds of London, Not Breathing, Psychic Warriors of Gaia, and the bands mentioned in the reviewLob Instagon