The Hexagonal Murder is the soundtrack to a fake film, probably from the 70s, and probably dealing with international intrigue, blue velvet curtains, and skyscrapers slick with rain. As a rock/pop album you might call it samesy and sporadic, but as the fantasy soundtrack to an unrealized film (composed entirely of samples, mind you), it is harrowing.
Hexagonal Murder is one of my most recent finds from Bandcamp, which is increasingly my favorite avenue for new music. It's just good wholesome fun - I love that proceeds go directly to the artists themselves, that the music is diverse and doesn't yet pander or scene-build, and that I can find artists from far-flung places. Case in point: Vania de Bie-Viernet. I know absolutely nothing about this man or woman, and I think I need to learn French if I want to. But I do know this: on Google he's most famous for a cover of the theme to Escape from New York (find that here if you're so inclined), and he crafted a fine, 70s, French, spy-noir soundtrack out of nothing but cuttings.
I cannot thank this album enough for the flashbacks of Enter the Dragon and classic Bond flicks. All the familiar sounds are accounted for - the orchestral sidles, the funky boom-chicka freakouts, the horn shrills and thrills, and I can even catch what might be Bruce Lee's actual kung-fu battle-yelp in the background of "Breakout." You have to hand it to de Bie-Viernet; it's clear that he overturned the 70s cinema barrel and scraped down the sides to get the sounds he needed, and the arrangements are as a good a job as you'll likely to find in a project like this.
Each track is an entire film score in miniature. They all have their own crescendos, silhouetted homicides, love scenes, denouements, all bundled about a core of groovenergy that never ceases. Woodwind dramas crumble away into cut-scene cymbals, melt in breezes of reverb, and you can almost hear the absent gunshot that inaugurates a staccato-bass chase sequence.
I also love that as a Frankensteinian creation, a modern-day reassembly of 70s doodads, you can hear the influence that the era has had on contemporary artists working in genres like trip-hop, hip-hop, and garage psychedelia. You're certain to catch washes of Portishead here and there, or the uncanny twang that should be Ty Segall but isn't.
The album's composition of samples alone is both a monumental feat and the root of my only gripe: each track is near-indistinguishable from the next, which is a gripe that should be adjusted for context. If you're going to listen to it as you would an effort from a band of musicians pooling ideas, it's a drag. Everything seems so haphazard, no mood lasts long enough to give a detailed-enough narrative, it's just a mess of flourishes and the occasional virtuoso jam. So don't look at it that way! Take it for what it is - a loving replica of the period, and the gate of juxtaposition between then and today.
Overall Rating - 7.0
=> lien vers cette page : Bond, 'Enter the Dragon,' and Morricone Collide in 'The Hexagonal Murder' [Music Review]