Kreng – Grimoire

You do feel you are walking the fog-laden streets, going to a meeting of The Golden Dawn or some such…


 

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My goodness. This record is immensely appealing, but very dark: if you like the idea of hearing the aural equivalent to Victorian London’s slums and docks, well, you need to hear Kreng’s Grimoire, simple as that. There’s a luminous, nauseous acid streak to the record, especially the first track Karcist, with its sinister voice inviting the listener to “let go of the earth and go towards the light…” You do feel you are walking the fog-laden streets, going to a meeting of The Golden Dawn or some such… 


This feeling of walking through a nightscape runs through the record; Balkop sounds like a midnight plod through the docks, whilst a track like Petit Grimoire - where the combination of sudden piano stabs and energetic but sinister strings conjures up scenes of scurried think of late night walks, constantly looking over your shoulder…


Grimoire is mostly an instrumental LP, there are bits of vocals, we have a creepy voice on the opener Karcist and at the end, on Konker, and a cod-operatic warblings on Opkropper: what sounds like an aborted run through of some scales gives this particular track a feel of one of Mahler’s Kindertot Lieder, or a morbid take from Mac the Knife. I make it all sound very mournful but it’s an engaging record; rather like the thrill you get when reading a Saki short story about teenage werewolves... You can get enveloped in and start to sympathise with its gothic atmosphere.


There’s a lot of musical invention (well, there has to be if you have the prospect of 11 mid tempo, gloom-laden tracks ahead of you)… Some great switches occur mid-piece; take Wrak for instance. Some easy listening, Mantovani style strings, warped to slightly nauseous effect do battle with increasingly dissonant synth & brass blurps and squeaks, it’s the most powerful (and most difficult) track on here. The whole thing builds up to a cacophonous jumble of noise only to peter out to an increasingly wearisome plod, then a ghostly whisper. Brilliant, but easy listening it ain’t. The contrast with Ballet Van De Bloedhoeren is stark; suddenly we are plunged into an 18th century court recital of sorts; though you begin to realise this whole pretence of being a string quartet by Haydn will last about a minute: and yes, soon things begin to get more distorted with lots of feedback and delay. It could be early Kraftwerk by the end. Girl in a Fishtank sounds exactly like the title, dreamy, floaty and a bit disorientated. Satyriasis can’t make its mind up whether it’s an avant garde jazz piece or a horror film score or a Studio G recording. But it revels in its indecision quite brilliantly.


Marvellous, but creepy.