Pleq + Philippe Lamy: Momentum

Bartosz Dziadosz is prolific, to say the least. At Discogs, six Pleq full-lengths are listed for 2012 alone, though it should be said that all are either collaborations or split releases. One of the six finds Dziadosz pairing with Philippe Lamy, who was originally a visual artist but now a sound artist too. Evidence of that background is heard throughout Momentum in the degree of detail presented within its settings. The two favour dark ambient soundsculpting of an ultra-dense and evocative kind in their five long-form originals, which extend from eight to fourteen minutes in length. The release itself totals seventy-three minutes, seventeen of which are taken up by remixes of three tracks by Machinefabriek (Rutger Zuydervelt), mise_en_scene (Shay Nassi), and Yukitomo Hamasaki.

Field recordings, glitches, noises of indeterminate sounds, and even the vestige of a (mutated) musical instrument or two emerges in the duo's immersive, slow-motion sound-worlds. In keeping with its ominous title, “Behind the Black Horizon” oozes portent in the waves of creaks and rain-soaked noise that proliferate. Smothered in gloom, the duo's nightmarish material is less musical piece than visual scene-painting rendered in aural form. Cut from the same cloth, “Dropping Waves” evokes Edgar Allen Poe in the muffled screeches that drape themselves across the track's thick layers of grime and soot. Shimmering melodies can be glimpsed softly intoning beneath the crackling washes of noise “Momentum,” while “White Hole” offers the duo's most combustible set-piece of the five. They unfold with patience and deliberation and play like industrial, depopulated wastelands where natural elements appear to be trying to wrest control from the whirrs and clanks of broken machinery. The attention to detail is impressive, something that can best be appreciated by hearing the album loud or on headphones.

As far as the remixes are concerned, the mise_en_scene version of “Behind the Black Horizon” softens the original and transmutes it into a microsound exercise that's rather less gloom-laden and more placid, Machinefabriek's “Dropping Waves” version retains the creepiness of the original while also multiplying it its textural density with flickering noises and panning washes, and Yukitomo Hamasaki illuminates the “Absurd” original with bright pinging accents and vaporous washes.

February 2013