CD: Hermetique H-CD-07 [2006]

Thull Ipegooh Dah
Absinthe à la guinguette de l'Espadon
From Geneve to Ga Er
qontain air nr2 (VRTP)
Transe Ov Exstrophy
Litz Day Kursk

The Hermetique record label isn’t the most productive label around. Their infrequent releases though are always worth collecting because they’ve redefined the meaning of quality control. Every release a guilty pleasure in sonic inventiveness. The last release from the label, ‘V/A - A reassuring voice on the television’ [read review here] typified this aptly. A compilation that ranked as one of the best releases of this type and featuring, amongst others, Negapadres.3.3. Hot on the heels of that release, which goes against the grain for the label, comes their third release… and as the great man Yoda himself would say ‘surprised will you be’.

For Negapadres.3.3. are an offshoot of hot Belgian EBM combo a:GRUMH. That sure as shit surprised me. Featuring nine tracks over 53+ minutes "Exstrophy of Amphigouris"doesn’t immediately grab you by the collar and headbutt you into submission like the other Hermetique releases have done. Their music is a slow burner. One that requires time to become acquainted with. This is no one night stand in the back alley behind the chip shop. This is a full on courtship. Requiring gentle handling and understanding.

Working within the spectres of black ambient / experimental avant-garde / Industrial their music comes, initially, across as a bit of a confused mess. The first track, ‘Thull Ipegooh Dah’, setting the scene for what is to come. Featuring a low moaning / chanting vocal over placid electronics / percussion, and some stringed instrument, perhaps a violin or viola being played???? They follow this with ‘Obstinacle’ which features the use of cello, field recordings / spoken w orded passages and electronics all played out against a fuzzy background. By track three ‘Seegooyull’ they are going places and using sounds in a totally original and perplexing way that defies convention. And so it goes on. Track four ‘Absinthe a la Guinguette de I’Espadon’ even sounding like the evil sister piece to ‘What a day’ by Throbbing Gristle. There’s far more to unearth but I’ll leave that for you to discover yourself.

When I tell you they utilise the sounds of Concorde warming up, Tasmanian Devil nuptial parades, Cicadas, Water, dog howling amongst others and add in a variety of samples culled from varying sources then you’ll suss that "Exstrophy of Amphigouris" is no run of the mill release. What at first appears to be a very cold and sterile mess of a release becomes, over time with repeated plays, an adventurous journey into the absurd. That’s a compliment by the way. For Negapadres.3.3. tease and cajole the listener into a musical realm which they’ve never before become acclimatised to. They challenge convention and come out grinning the other side. It may be pug ugly but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Give this release time and you’ll find there’s more to it than first meets the eye.

Heavy on atmosphere and inventiveness, and packaged in the usual high standards expected from Hermetique, "Exstrophy of Amphigouris" is the musical equivalent of the ‘Da Vinci Code’. A massive puzzle requiring patience to get the best from it. Highly engrossing and recommended and another feather in Hermetique’s already impressive cap.



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