May 7, 2007

Pepe Bradock - Rhapsody in Pain


Deeply deranged. This word pair keeps frothing up as I reach for the adequate descriptors for Pepe Bradock’s musical world—a comparison with (pre-Napoleon complex) Herbert/Wishmountain might get you partway there, but there’s something uniquely subversive about Bradock’s collisions of atmospheric musique concrete and sweet (but not sugary) deep house. The covers of both his classic Burning EP and the later Intrusion set the scene—repetitions of disturbing mannequins, mannered yet monstrous.

But of all of Bradock’s oddball curveballs, this has to be the strangest and curliest. The fact that it’s called “Rhapsody in Pain” should help you realize—we are most definitely not in Kansas anymore. The track (I hesitate to call it a track) is ostensibly a wonky house number that might warm the cockles of a Metaboman or Lump fan’s heart, except…it’s urged along by looped choruses of people screaming. Not the screams of tortured souls, more like camping zombies being bitten by fire ants. You’re not going to have a lukewarm reaction to this composition—I love it, but that might be a reflection of my overdeveloped sense of the ridiculous. I’m so happy people are making fearlessly individual, expressive music like this, experimenting with the idiom of groove to make something perverted, perverting—yet still funky. Deeply deranged, and funky. Or otherwise, you might say (as my partner did) “What is this monged rubbish?”

Atavisme / ATA 007
[Peter Chambers]


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