Brooklyn-based artist Robert Pepper originally formed Pas Musique back in 1995 as an alias for his experimental solo performances, but since then, the band has grown into a four-piece, with Jon Worthley, Michael Durek and Jesse Fairbairn joining Pepper in the current lineup. Since the independent release of the band’s 2008 debut album ‘The Lyre Speaketh’, they’ve been consistently prolific, collaborating with the likes of Faust, ZEV and Rapoon amidst an impressively large discography of albums.
This latest album ‘The Phoenix’ follows on from last year’s collaboration with Rapoon ‘Composited Reality’, and sees Pas Musique continuing to blend jagged noise guitar elements with dark post-punk / industrial electronics and improvised wordless vocals. It’s the likes of Faust, Zoviet France and Throbbing Gristle that most immediately stand out as primary influences on the seven distinctly abstracted tracks collected here.
Title track ‘The Phoenix’ opens proceedings with slow clanging metallic percussion and bursts of distortion before dark droning synths buzz and growl at the centre of the mix against gnarled howls of feedback and monastic sounding vocal chanting. If the slow irregular pulse of the aforementioned track suggests the toxic pulse throbbing through Coil’s earlier records, ‘Miss Globule’ takes things out into lo-fi krautrock grooves as twinkling electronic effects and angular post-punk bass runs mesh with clicking drum machine rhythms and jagged guitar feedback in a manner that’s far closer to the likes of Neu! or Ike Yard.
Elsewhere, ‘Ancient Culture In A Warp Drive’ drops the pace down, sending layers of eerily detuned sampled orchestration washing like a chill wind over moody synthetic bass arpeggios and sparse drum machine rhythms, while tendrils of contorted electric guitar stretch out against sampled background chatter, before ‘Xialo’ reaches out into goth-tinged noise rock as vintage documentary samples give way to a dark storm of buzzing industrial synths, contorted vocal processing and squealing feedback, the cut-up samples repeatedly intoning “pray to the moon god” inducing a ritualistic atmospheric as the brooding bass tones curve and arc restlessly. While not all of this album immediately gels upon first listening, when it does there’s plenty of dark potency on show here.