Philippe Petit – Henry: The Iron Man (Aagoo)

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French sound artist Philippe Petit uses electronics, field recordings, and turntables for his work, which he likens more to that of a “Å“musical travel agent” than a musician. Whatever way, this vinyl reissue of his 2009 album plunges us into its own universe.

Side one is the 20-minute ‘Salaryman’s Dream’, a slow-moving mood piece doubling as a subliminal transmission. An erratic hum bubbles beneath as elements of drone, ambient, and noise splinter and coalesce. Petit gradually ratchets up the anxiety, finding a patchy rhythm about 15 minutes in. For the comedown, a drawn-out melody beckons from deep within the fog.

The flipside’s cauldron-like ‘In Tokyo Henry Spencer is Fine’â„¢ indulges in some of the same scrambled elements but appears more minimal and somehow overt. More ambient and droning is ‘Lady in the Radiator Meets the Fetishist’, revisiting the faint pulse teased in the other pieces. Perceval Ballone guests on drowned saxophone, and the track swings between a deep, static-y tremor and a psychedelic wobble. Unlike the first side, it doesn’t wind down but rather abruptly cuts out. All the better for Petit to sever our expectations just as they’re beginning to take shape.

Doug Wallen

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