a closer listen

Baccam/Chayer, Broken Shoulder ~ Les angoisses nocturnes​/​Hiruma no tachikurami

There’s something in the walls, rustling, skittering, threatening to find its way out, likely in the most unexpected and terrifying manner.  This is the sound of Chittakone Baccam (Hazy Montagne Mystique) and Yannick Chayer, who start this split release with a wall of noises before turning it into a wall of noise.  “Les angoisses nocturnes​” (“Night time anguish”) is a great name for this two-part unsettled symphony, as it calls to mind a phantasmagoria of tortured images, such of which might occur when nightmares are preferable to real life, and the real torture is waking up.  Tape loops, electronics and “invented instruments” approach like giant insects, maws agape.  The saxophone howls as if forced to play for its life.  There’s no relief at all; the other side of the pillow might be cool, but there might be bugs underneath.  Is it worth the risk to flip it?

This is a CD, not a tape, but we imagine Broken Shoulder‘s contribution as Side B.  “Hiruma no tachikurami” (“Dawn in the daytime”) is responsible for the somewhat misleading cover image.  The music is pretty, but not in the way one might imagine; it’s like twisted wreckage or butchered hair.  According to the artist, the music is intended to represent “daytime disorientation”; the sufferer can’t catch a break.  Again the drones grow, smoother this time, extended notes jabbed with distorted field recordings like souvenir photos glitched by a broken screen.  With titles such as “Piss Boat” and “Hot Wind”, this isn’t going to be a pleasant excursion.  But the final title brings a smile to the face: “Keep On Believing”.  While the title is reminiscent of a Journey song, the timbre is neither pop nor noise.  Laughter, birds and conversation are set against an undulating loop.  The guests begin to sing.  One expects everything to fall apart, but it doesn’t.  This unexpected grace may have been an afterthought, but we prefer to think it was intentional; call us clichéd, but we’d like to believe too. (Richard Allen)