Sound Projector favourite Romain Perrot here from Paris with his new solo album Blooze, Hazards and Off Keys (DECIMATION SOCIALE DSCDMEURS), a fine monster of “abstract mayhem” released under a new alias Meurs. Haven’t heard him in a solo context for some time it seems, although we enjoyed his recent team-up with Quentin Rollet on L’Impatience Des Invisibles, and the Maginot record before that…he also surfaced in 2020 on the hideous Fråhr record with fellow French lunatic Ogrob, to lasting effect.
Today’s record was made in the summer-autumn months of 2020 and sees our hero performing and perhaps overdubbing himself with guitars, keyboards, vocals, tapes, and electronics, setting up shop in “multiple locations” which I take to mean any place with a microphone that would endure the hellish presence of these obnoxious blasts. Across two lengthy suites, Perrot delivers himself of a series of unpleasant noises which may have begun life as “songs” – we do have a tracklist and titles, titles which sometimes hint at corny romance (‘Feel Me Tonight’ and ‘An End Called Love’) but mostly express abnegation, hatred, wretchedness and death (‘Always Hate Them’, ‘Mass Rejection’, ‘Crush’, ‘Expurgation’ and ‘Liquid to Death’). Brave the man who dares attempt to extract any song content from these ungainly musical sprawls, the first of which is 20:13 mins of overloaded and overcrowded noise, sickening guitars and amplified spew in the midst of which our man howls and moans like a poisoned bat with toothache. The noises just tumble out of him, creating rich and palpable textures of rubble and garbage.
If the second “suite” seems to offer some respite from that powerful onslaught, it also proposes a dark, inverted and deeply sarcastic version of lyrical romance in song form, with Romain Perrot crooning a ballad of sorts like a drunk, hopeless cross-dresser adrift in the backstreets of Pigalle, while the musical backdrops are nothing but disconnected, nihilist guitar stabs, distant barely-audible keyboard fugues, and meaningless vapourings as the microphone picks up the dismal “atmosphere” of the recording locale. Rudolf Eb.er, another notorious refusenik and absurdist nihilist of noise, joins Romain for the final piece ‘Fermeture’, a literal “closing-down” of the world. With this self-proclaimed “anti-music”, created through “savage mauling of treatments and production”, Perrot is reaching new heights of sonic innovation, while simultaneously plumbing new depths of abject despair and strung-out alienation – rarely has a performer sounded so utterly “wasted” on record, as if evoking all the worst extremes of heroin addiction, alcoholism, and sheer mental anguish all at the same time. What’s more, he declares Blooze, Hazards and Off Keys as “a retreatist album in favour of utter refusal and seclusion”. At a time when the world’s population has endured months of seclusion and retreat in the form of lockdown, and complaining bitterly about the situation, here’s a fellow openly coming out in favour of it, and making an unforgettable soundtrack out of his stand-alone stance.
As to that, the artist remains proud of his raw, self-taught and primitive approach to making records, all of which I applaud – it goes beyond the “DIY aesthetic” of 1980s cassette bands and explores much more extreme and uncharted territory. He does this in the pursuit of two main goals – (1) self-expression, and (2) total freedom, and at times almost seems to be putting himself in mortal danger along the way. Such raw creation stirs something deep in the listener, leading to a uniquely cathartic experience; there are few contemporary performers who dare to go this far. To top it off we have one song title that, to my mind, rekindles the very spirit of true surrealism – ‘Go Take Her In Your Arms and Let Her Listen to the Song Of Your Blood’. Words which the spirits of Marcel Duchamp and Jean Cocteau would applaud! From 25th March 2021.