steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


"After the Battle [A Chronicle of the Joy of Life]" CD

EE Tapes

Genre: experimental, dark ambient

Viljandi, Estonia

January 2010

A prettily printed CDR in a seven-inch package -- sort of an awkward combo -- Brume's presumably jubilant After the Battle [A Chronicle of the Joy of Life] is in fact a rather sinister-sounding affair. Christian Renou is a remarkably unique soundsmith, his compositions eluding the ol' pigeonhole by being so damn eclectic -- here he tests out, among other modes of sound: dark ambient drones, eerie samples, outright beats, a fair share of noise (ranging from dark and harsh to high-pitched and tinnitis-inducing), the kitchen sink, and everything in between.

I am most drawn to the droning, ominous moments which sporadically populate After the Battle, as exemplified by the cavernous, droning ebbs and evil spoken words of “Frozen Fields” and the maudlin clip-clops heard on “Survival in Eating Proteines [sic] from Human Brain Corpses.” These tracks, as well as several parts of others, evoke dark, apocalyptic cityscapes with an efficacy only the finest sound sculptors seem capable of. My enthusiasm is less abundant with regards to Renou's use of high-pitched tones, which can be 'enjoyed' most prominently on the otherwise merrily atmospheric tandem of “I Did Not Remember My Name / Fire Again!” and “We Were Young...” But hey, diff'rent strokes n' all.

Somewhere between those moments which I truly dig, and those which I teeth-gratingly tolerate, are several varied excursions -- the messy carnage-beats of “Stalingrad,” noisy sizzle “Another Style of War,” and mesmeric epic “I'm Feeling Good,” which boasts a dazzling passage of longing strings, whispered vocals, and crashing metal destruction. After the Battle is sometimes a disorienting affair as a result of its sheer eclecticism, something which might turn off listeners who are unaccustomed to Renou's body of work. But this veritable journey of a record is worth following if one relinquishes control and allows the sound to guide the way.

From Brume's 1994 album:

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 9 tracks, distributed by the label, released Nov. 25, 2009]