Avec le soleil sortant de sa bouche (With the sun out of his mouth–no translation for Zubberdust) is the creation of former Fly Pan Am bassist Jean-Sebastien Truchy. With this album he has created a fascinating hybrid of near Krautrock repetitions with some King Crimson guitar lines and time signatures. And interesting sung almost operatic male vocals. Technically the disc has four songs, but songs 1 and 3 are extended suites broken into chapters.
“Face à l’instant” (Face Now parts I-IV) is the first suite. This disc opens like Ministry–with an aggressive, fast, pounding guitar riff for 8 bars, a sharp pause and continuation of same. After four measures of that, a quirky quiet instrumental takes over and at about a minute the heavy guitars return. Part 2 of the song starts with a funky, slightly off-kilter sounding guitar line and whistling. About a minute into this secretion the song shifts to a quiet sequence of overlapping riffs and sounds. About 5 minutes in, the voices start singing in wordless chants–it’s strangely catchy and slightly militaristic at the same time. The song builds with voices until it climaxes with a stop. Then a complex drumming pattern begins Part 3. The guitars lines resume and there are several vocals sections (I assume singing in French) that add a lot of tension to the song. Midway through this part the song stops and that aggressive introductory guitar pummeling resumes, this time changing keys and not letting up. New sounds and super heavy drumming are added as this brings part three to a climax. Part 4 returns to quieter playing (and sounds a bit like Fly Pan Am in the way the guitar line as intersect. The final section continues with the vocals and rhythms of the other three and then ends with some dramatic keyboard chords playing us out.
“Super pastiche fantastique” (Super fantastic pastiche) is the other suite. It opens with some complex drumming and then several sequences of notes–guitar and synth that meld nicely. Part 1 is just 3 minutes and by the end some electronic noises start overtaking the melodies. Part 2 opens with the same melody but the electronics have been replaced by a wah-wahed guitar and more synth lines. The song is complex and repetitive, with the only non-repeating part being the singer’s voice (no idea what he’s even saying). The second half of part 2 (which is 7 minutes in total) ends with some sung vocals (not unlike David Byrne). Part 3 is a 90 second interlude of very quick tinkling strings that are overwhelmed by noise and static and thudding drums. The end of the track seems to be building up to part 4 which picks up the momentum into a great instrumental motif–intertwining guitars and electronics all with a cool bass line underneath. After 2 and a half minutes the song drops to drums and a funky guitar line with all kind of noises and static and voices working as transition to the cool bass line that comes in around 3 minutes. As the song careens towards the end, the pace picks up and you can hear some intense screaming of vocals way in the distance. The song cleans up and plays that great fast riff right up until the end when it abruptly ceases.
Tracks 2 and 4 are weird pastiches of sound. “Déja hier…” (Already yesterday…) is a four-minute song. Interesting music plays very quietly in the background before it gets overwritten by conversation and static. You can occasionally hear the song being played behind the noise, but it’s mostly just a weird kind of muffled noise. “À partir de dorénavant” (From now) is similar. You can hear a distant muddy drum and what sounds like la dinner party–tons of conversations going on at once. It seems like the disc is going to end with 3 minutes of this, but a keyboard melody begins to slowly overtake the din.
The last minute or so is this interesting sci-f sounding synth line with warbling effects and an interesting, mellow bass. Although it’s nowhere near as complicated as the rest of the album, it’s a cool way to end and almost feels like a segue into something else.
This album has a whole lot of styles and genres blended together into a (mostly) very cool mix of sounds. I like it a lot, although I’ll probably skips tracks 2 and 4 most of the time.
[READ: June 15, 2016] Orcs: Forged for War
This book was a little hard to learn about because Stan Nicholls has written several novels in the Orcs series. So when you look up his books you get a confusing list of the series and other things. This book is not part of the series, but it is part of the overall Orcs arc. It comes just before the First Blood Trilogy.
In the intro, Nicholls tells us lot more about his whole Orcs oeuvre. He points out that unlike Tolkien (whom he loved) his Orcs are not mindless brutes. In fact, in his books, the orcs are the heroes and the humans are the ones who have along and messed things up. He says that anyone unfamiliar with his orcs books should have no trouble following this book.
And that is true to a degree. One thing that it behooves an author/artist to do is to make sure that everyone understands who all of the characters/races are in his/her book. He does give a brief summary in the intro, but that doesn’t really help because there’s no visual guide.
Humans are divided into two camps. The Manifold (Manis) pursue ancient pagan ways. The Unity (Unis) are monotheistic. They are both fanatics but the Unis have more bigotry and demagoguery.
This book opens with the Unis fighting the Manis. And then the Orcs enter the fray but it’s not always clear whose side the Orcs on, if any. Regardless of which side they are on, they are willing to fight and kill whomever (there is much much bloodhsed and a shocking amount of vulgarity in the book).
There is a human working with the orcs (only one as far as I can tell). And in the first fifty or so pages it seems like a simple matter of Orcs verses humans. But that doesn’t appear to be it either.
The Unis are by far the most dickish bunch, especially Kimbal Hobrow, the preacher
Then about a third of the way into the book we meet a new character: Jennesta a “product of a mingling of races” although which races is stated. She is powerful and green (and sometimes naked) and she has a violent temper unlike any we have seen so far. She tells the orcs that they are assigned to be bodyguards for the goblins. The goblins don’t want the protection and the orcs don’t want to give it, bit Jennesta is not easily swayed.
There’s more fighting and ten the goblins reveal the secret weapon that the have been carrying with them (which the orcs are supposed to protect). This weapon is pretty intense. They encounter an ogre and dragons and harpies and messengers. There’s more violence and bloodshed. And then more violence and bloodshed. And then there’s magic and bloodshed. And frankly by the end I had no idea what was going on.
I did enjoy some of the orcs–the ones who were distinct enough to earn their own personalities. But I couldn’t keep any of the factions together, so the plot was just a jumble of violence to me. And the art didn’t really help much in terms of distinguishing anyone.
Pity as the premise of the book (and the series) sounded really interesting. Maybe if I’d read this after reading one of the novels it would have made more sense. #10yearsof01