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Bérangère Maximin – Dangerous Orbits

Crammed Discs

Bérangère Maximin - Dangerous OrbitsI’m seriously fixated by musique concrète, along with a lot of other musical niches; it’s been a slippery slope ever since hearing Luciano Berio’s Visage at an impressionable age, which set the dominos toppling for other magnetic tape twisters, splicers and slicers. In turn, this spurred an appreciation of more tonally spread hues, that floating gasp to our everyday stripped of recognition, the petri dish of the consequencidental magic, the mechanical rush or clank, the whirring innards — the ticking arteries of combustion — largely ignored, often found irritating; the consequences of modernity that Bérangère Maximin investigates on her recent release Dangerous Orbits.

It’s a sound that creeps up on you in a slow roast of sustain, souring on deeper kernels and hints of paranormal activity that taps at the window, grieving an ever-roomy verb. A server innards’ skiffling a stylus’s skip with squid-like debris skating your hemispheres. A miniature movie of mechanical/organic pleasures, like coins freefalling through a spectred vending machine — incised in twisty clanks, mining a minimal redux of NWW’s “Creakiness” or the insectal zizz of Stapleton‘s “African Mosquito” that bubbles with odd whale-like grimaces and planktonic squints. Yep, seriously, this is one for the headphones.

“Glow” takes the milieu further, injects an elliptical sliver of sinister into the proceedings, an ominous banquet of amorphic apprehension with a chill of percussion clanking amongst the jostling geometrics. “A Day Closer” lances you into a host of weird shapes your eyes can’t help but follow, quibbling digital diatoms that hook your mind up with a heap of unhealthy apparitions cut-up into beaty schisms. The textural depth is incredible, but claustrophobically awash with asphyxiated grasps and buzzing insecticules, the scatter of the domestic flipped into rhythmic blisters, orgasmic pants. A primitive dance that brings on the attentive chop of Delia Derbyshire’s scissors in a hex of shifting contours and circular pings of sonar.

Most tracks skate a healthy ten or eleven minutes, but track four — curiously entitled “OOP (Our Own Planet)” — multiplies this to well over twenty. The album’s centrepiece, its chirping canopy and evolving perspectives removes itself from the prevailing subterranean hue that envelops the rest of Dangerous Orbits. A whirring quartz rainbow that happily slips its own confines, seeded in the slow-mo of ceremonial rattles. A steady increase in density thread-wormed into the more mechanical: shunted locomotives be-speckled in chordic sustains and weird dissidents pulling at the framework.

The transformatives at 14 minutes in are quite something, as subtle chorals creep on over, its mass continuously folding over and dividing, replaying fragments over fragments until you’re plunged within a sense of something huge on a collision course with something immovable, a sensation that cliff-hangs eternally. An anxiety that grumbles in an infernal dance of cross-zipped gouges that leak brilliant shimmering colours (guitars, maybe?) in shivers of FSA richness flittering between this world and some other.

It’s such a pity the track had to end, but leads the way to the very last instalment, a jagged pill of re-alignment where the first track’s dead-wax skip is given an acid bath of distortive rasps and motorised angles to become a glowing amulet caught in an out-stretching tide slowly shallowed by its own imagination.

-Michael Rodham-Heaps-

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