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World's Leading Terrorist State
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is the first release by French trio Phéromone. Comprised of Pascal Battus, Eric Cordier and Jean-Luc Guionnet, the trio have been together for some three years performing improvised music using guitar, hurdy gurdy, electronics and various electro-acoustic devices involving sundry objects with contact mics. Cordier and Guionnet have played together since the mid-80s in various settings, most recently in Schams and Synapses and also as a duo (discs on Shambala and Selektion). Battus is a new collaborator for them, a guitar player with an extended technique, recently praised in the Wire by no less an authority than Keith Rowe as one of the younger guitarists worth watching out for. This disc consists of a continuous piece (indexed as two tracks) edited from home recordings of the group by long-time collaborators Eric La Casa and Pierre-Henri Thiebaut. Their favoured concert set up is to occupy three corners of the performance space and seat the audience in the middle. The analogy is with the functioning of the eponymous insect hormones, which transmit messages to other insects at a distance. The audible messages of the three musicians transmit signals from one player to the next, with the audience hearing the interaction of the signals in 'surround sound'. This is particularly apt as the overall effect of the music on this disc is of a darkened environment full of animal calls, as unseen predators stalk small mechanical prey and flocks of metal birds perch in the tinfoil trees. Actual sound sources are impossible to identify with certainty as the various stringed and amplified instruments surge and recede in a dazzling display of alternating synchronicity and conflict. The variety of sounds, the virtuosity of the interplay and the obvious mix of both seriousness and humour in their approach mark Phéromone out as a trio to keep an eye on in the future."
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