Another exciting Le Petit Mignon release is LPM 16. Its full title is Le Petit Mignon Vs Le Cagibi and it’s a split between Vinyl-Terror & -Horror and Toys’R’Noise. It lives up to its promise of creating a horrorshow experience in sound, and what’s more is presented in a sumptuous silk-screen book with an array of contemporary graphiste artists.
The side by Vinyl-Terror & -Horror is pretty much a scrambled, cut-up version of an abstract radio play. Sound effects, fragments of voices, vari-speeded records and tapes, eerie music, ghastly drone and general strange things are all thrown together in a witch’s cauldron, leaving listener to imagine their own stories. Surreal, grisly humour abounds…but it never tries to shock the listener with intense noise. Rather ‘Inner Dialogues’ sustains a particular mood through its pop-collage method and never once descends into schlock or irony. The people behind this are Camilla Sørensen and Greta Christensen, two Danish sound artists currently agitating the gravel in Berlin, and are among the ranks of conceptual art terrorists who are “rethinking” the art of turntabling. They do it by smashing up old records, then reassembling the pieces of vinyl along with broken bits of plastic or glass junk that don’t fit. They do much the same to old record players, producing grotesque sculptures. They don’t have that many released items in their catalogue, but all of them make playful and punning references to movies and TV. They seem to be more of an art-gallery thing than full-time musicians, and you can see videos of their art installations on their website. Nearest reference point for me would be Michael Gendreau, who’s been doing similar things since 1979.
‘Pachitea Aïda’ on the flip is by Toys’R’Noise, a further 4 and a half minutes of menacing, creepy noise. Sounds very mechanical, as if produced by ramshackle machines similar to those erected by Pierre Bastien, but the noise is spliced with contemporary electronic noise and nasty disco beats. Tribal clonking rhythms ensue, redolent of an imminent forward-marching doom brought about by wind-up robots. I think Toys’R’Noise are a French duo who produce all their murky noise with toys and home-made instruments, and photos of their set look like a junkyard or a car boot sale. Which is probably where they pick up their raw materials every Sunday…wouldn’t you love to be married to these two magpies? Not prolific in terms of releases, but there’s a self-titled debut on Tandori from 2013. The band remind us that the toys are just a gimmick, and their real roots remain in “ambient industrial electro”. Great clanking fun on their side, though I personally prefer the more intricate spells cast by our two Danish witches above.
The booklet is an art object in its own right. It opens in the middle like a pop-up book with a simple mountain-fold used to house the record, which incidentally happens to be pressed in blood-red vinyl. Inside are some dazzling images produced by some two dozen creators whose names are mostly new to me (though I do recognise Zven Balslev, and have published his drawings myself). Not sure if I’m intoxicated by the strong colours, the bold graphic techniques, or the shocking and surreal imagery on display, or perhaps the combination of all three. From 9th February 2015.
Update 27th September 2016: Toys’R’noise are a trio (but they sometimes play as a duo).