Uno Actu - Splendeurs Putrides [Tour De Garde ý - 2012]Splendeurs Putrides is an album by the one-man black ambient project Uno Actu; located in Québecq, Canada. The man behind this project presents himself here as Le Cyclope (The Cyclops), though black metal enthusiasts might be more familiar with his other alias Néant (Nothing,) which he goes by in the absolutely brilliant band Akitsa. This album was released on cassette in 2012 on the equally praiseworthy Canadian underground black metal label Tour De Garde, which is run by O.T., who is the other half of Akitsa.
Being a huge fan of said band and label, my expectations regarding this tape were rather high. I found myself constantly drawing comparisons between this tape and the Akitsa material, and I have to say that Le Cyclope has done a truly admirable job here; he has managed to cover a lot of sonic terrain without ever really drawing sounds from the Akitsa well. This is a different beast entirely, although in terms of atmosphere one won’t have any problems believing that both Uno Actu and Akitsa suck on the same blasphemic goat’s hairy teet.
Doing a track-by-track review here doesn’t make any sense as no individual track really stands out. What Splendeurs Putrides is all about is using a wide variety of weird and atonal sounds to make one cacophonic and chaotic mess. Think Abruptum, or the more unpronounceable (and thus weirder) Les Légions Noires releases. There is an abundance of eerie drones, dry drum computer beats, perverted loops, melancholic melodies, and downright evil vocal work. Although the album really hits home in terms of sounding “evil” sometimes, as a whole it often sounded more like a carnival (albeit one as we know it in the 1930’s film Freaks) than as a truly disconcerting occult ritual. To my personal taste, a lack of filth and ugliness prevent this album from being a truly great black ambient work. I do realize my affection for Akitsa, where raw and unpolished ugliness has never been an issue, certainly has influenced the way I have listened to this tape. The most accomplished work here, for example, have been those moments where the dissonant guitar chords meet the disturbing vocals...so basically when it came closest to the Akitsa sound. That’s when the feces hit the pope. It just sounds so much more real and truly evil than when the rest of the chaotic carousel full of bizarre-looking horses just keeps going around and around.
All in all, I have to admit Splendeurs Putrides is a very well-crafted and rich sounding black ambient release. There are so many interesting sounds going on throughout the album that I can’t imagine this release not being satisfactory for people who enjoy dark ambient. Some moments do grab you by the throat; but I can’t shake the feeling that as a whole, it did strike me as being too carnivalesque at times. With a “less is more” approach to the compositions I would have easily loved this album, now I “just” really like it.Damien De Coene