L' Autopsie Phenomenale De Dieu

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The title of Kreng's debut album translates to "The Phenomenal Autopsy of God," and it's not clear whether it is a programmatic title or not. There is certainly something godly (or ungodly) about the music, a unique blend of electro-acoustic music and doom music. Furthermore, the press release says the 18 tracks were commissioned for various theater productions, yet the ear and brain insist on the coherence of the material as a whole and the organic flow of the album. And then, you have to add a 12-page booklet designed by Erik Skodvin (aka Svarte Greiner), whose pictures are never quite what they seem, capturing the eye until what's (ungodly!) wrong about them becomes apparent. So is this a conspiracy to obfuscate? Or is it more simply a case of music standing outside the grasp of words? The latter is most certainly the case. Pepijn Caudron (the Belgian individual behind the Kreng moniker) has managed to produce a compelling debut that both entices and shakes you, art that may seem familiar one moment, then drags you deeper into the unknown the next. Doom-laden drones, string duets, piano melodies, bouts of musique concrète, skillfully sculpted sonics, and -- most disquieting -- the gentle, restrained, and extremely moving sobs of a young woman over a variation on a prelude by Chopin. It sounds somewhere between Peter Broderick's post-classical music, Francis Dhomont's schizophrenic Sous le Regard d'Un Soleil Noir, and Svarte Greiner's doom drones. The pace is mostly slow, the atmosphere relentlessly dark and sorrowful, but there's beauty in every corner of this album, although you might not feel at ease with it.

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