Pierre Bastien: Pop

Rephlex, 2005

Though it starts with a snore, this album is anything but boring. French composer Bastien built himself a mechanical orchestra out of turntable motors and Meccano toys. His compositions are surprisingly precise and intricate, with funky rhythm sections and micro-percussion. Many of the seven pieces have mini movements. On “Eye,” clicks and bass drums die down for a moment of melodic electronics and muted trumpet. “Noon” begins with drums, Freeform-esque chords, and two crossfaded old records. It too breaks for a mechanized gong solo and 1920s muted horn, sounding like the soundtrack to a Joseph Cornell film. “Tut” seems a bit more random, with a heavily distorted voice over dissonant plucked strings and repeating chords. Humming creeps in.

The combination of sounds on Pop is unique, although some of the melodies do remind me of early Freeform. Bastien’s approach to sound fetishizes objects. His mechanized world inspires wonder and a strange sense of nostalgia.

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