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Fabrice Eglin & Jérôme Noetinger - Psychotic Reactions & Lightnin’ Rag

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Artist: Fabrice Eglin & Jérôme Noetinger

Album: Psychotic Reactions & Lightnin’ Rag

Label: A Bruit Secret

Review date: Aug. 16, 2004

French sound artist Jérôme Noetinger doesn’t get the props that some of his fellow electronicians do, but the music he constructs is as deliberate and provocative as anything out there. Having worked in the collective MIMEO, in frequent partnership with Lionel Marchetti, RLW, erikM, and others, it’s no surprise his music is so rich. Guitarist Fabrice Eglin is a relative newcomer who, as far I know, has only contributed a track to the From:/To: compilation. He proves his mettle here, for sure, on the first in A Bruit Secret’s “Blue Series” – about as far from Thirsty Ear as you can get, I’d say.

Here the duo generally eschews some of the customary “hallmarks” of electroacoustic music: a backdrop hum, a floating spool of clicks and clacks, or a mutated throbbing pulse. Instead, what you have is a mangled processing of Eglin’s guitar, or perhaps a besotted synergy between two very twisted electronic sound sources. Using an array of microphones, gritty tape machines, creaky electronics and tortured speakers, Noetinger creates dynamically challenging situations. The first track, for example, takes quite a while to ramp up and unfolds steadily from total silence to mid-level frequency (including some distorted blues vocals, which sound like they’re being played back on a beat-up cassette). The densely packed second track, however, vollies all over the place, compacting hissing and wheezing, hideous metal sounds, and sweet arpeggiation all in a few minutes time.

Eglin doesn’t resort to conventional guitar gestures frequently. Instead, he treats the instrument in a detached way - as a resonating box of wood with six metal strings, all tricked out for epic feedback adventures. The 30-minute third track is more or less a study in feedback and reverberation, from lush overtone-rich songs to the amp-busting, shorting-out variety. For several minutes, the duo play with layers and slowly construct a huge block of melded sound before dismantling it with with mischievous delight, slashing it with piercing noise, only to set about the entire process again. It ends with seven minutes of tension-filled near silence, only to explode right at the end. Unexpected and unpredictable, this is a sweetly sinister release.

By Jason Bivins

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