CDR: Dolmen Sniper [2005]

Farines Humaines
Dead Love
Blood On The Tarmac
Dead Mind
Dead Lights
Dead Sorrow
Dead End

'Dub' and 'bleak' are not two words that you often hear in the same breath - a bit like 'frantic' and 'drone', or 'uplifting' and 'goth'. But the opening track from Frenchman Cyrill Duneau, 'Farines Humaines', is a textbook example of what bleak dub ought to sound like. Resonant stabs of sound echo over a pounding trip-hop rhythm
(there's another two!), while a lonely acoustic guitar laments the loss of something dear. It's a bit like Techno Animal doing the Swans - from behind, slowly and lovingly - and works really well; Duneau returns to the same territory later with 'Blood On The Tarmac', only this time sans guitar.

Originally released in 2003 as the soundtrack to a video (sadly no clips included), and recently re-edited and re-released by the artist, this CD continued to take me by surprise with its versatility and originality; it's one of those releases that keeps throwing you curve balls and refuses to be pigeonholed. 'Dead Lights' has a groovy sort of early Skinny Puppy vibe (err, 'Dead Lines' anyone?), which drops you abruptly into the savage ambience (another unlikely pairing) and hectic beat-mashing of 'Dead Sorrow' - there's a theme emerging here. Interlude 'Murder' has a touch of the blues to it, whereas closing track 'Dead End' is at once grandiose and hallucinatory.

Every so often there's a snatch of heavy beat-driven industrial and synth riffing that reminds me of French contemporaries Rauwolfia and Chrysalide; I'm beginning to suspect that there's a thriving Gallic hard-electronica scene that has yet to properly break over here. If there's many more bands over there as good as this, then we're in for a treat when it does.


[Dolmen Sniper]

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