Philippe Lamy & MonoLogue – Blu Deux

Like IBM’s Deep Blue machine, Blu Deux is a sophisticated computer, processing thousands of requests at an enviable speed. In the blink of an eye, the music sidesteps this way and that, always on the go, with its tonal artefacts gleaming in the daylight and its convulsing rhythms occasionally crashing.

Released on Phinery at the end of last year, sound artists Philippe Lamy & MonoLogue, aka Marie Rose Sarri, are in charge of this brutal, snake-like machine, which is, despite its minimalism, still able to side-step a virus and load up some melodious mp3’s, selecting them, taking them from out of the corrupted wreckage, and then reassembling them. Curious sounds burrow into the sound, its white noise like television static on a midnight channel.

The chirping of carnivorous cicadas on a summer’s afternoon make for a chorus of noise, and a collage of seemingly unrelated and yet interconnecting sounds play practical jokes on the listener in unexpected ways; it’s like a secret weapons cache belonging to Gotham City’s Joker. The musical detritus stands on top of a hissing nest of vipers, their white fangs a mountain range of high-decibel frequencies. Tiny pieces disintegrate and fall away. Like a failed, corrupted download, the music zigzags around abridged audio and a staggered, stage-by-stage mutation, but there are coherent parts within it; something that was once radioactive becoming something completely natural.

Sounds emerge as if at random, but there are patterns and sequences here, buried in a deep layer of coding. These complex mathematical equations are nonetheless quite accessible to the uninitiated. Pyramidal structures are built up and then demolished until nothing remains of their history. Jagged angles of stone cut into the track, causing a deep tear and then an inner spillage, from which other ingested sounds are dumped out onto the edges of the music. Vocal apparitions soon come to the surface, but they’re incomplete sisters, sounding like early beta versions of Microsoft’s Cortana or Amazon’s Alexa.

France and Italy unite, producing an album of shifting sand, of metal and impermanence, powered by sleek noise and monolithic vacancy. It’s both a stark atmosphere (which occasionally bursts into violence), and a smooth, air-conditioned and water-cooled system, where discordant sounds rattle against the prison bars and a serene flow of air escapes from the vented lungs of the machine. Blu Deux is far from being sane art, and in this instance that’s a very good thing, because that’s what makes it unique. They go right into the heart of the noise, deep into its swirling vortex, unafraid of what they might find there. Crashes only lead to possible renewal and re-emergence, and the music’s intelligently layered in spite of the carnage. The proof of its intelligence lies in its ability to shape-shift from wreckage into a working machine, the sounds a form of digital recycling. It gives a whole new meaning to the term rhythmic gymnastics, and this is, without doubt, a real workout.

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