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Pacific 231 – “1983-86 Compendium” – [Functional Organisation]

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Shirtless Frenchman Pierre Jolivet first used the name Pacific 231 (after the Arthur Honegger composition, I suppose) in the early 80s. He has since brought forth a huge number of Industrial releases under this name, with his longest period of creative inactivity being something like 1999-2006. Like some of the other early bands to follow Throbbing Gristle and SPK into the abyss (for instance Nocturnal Emissions, Esplendor Geometrico, Controlled Bleeding and The Grey Wolves) Jolivet continued quietly (or loudly) doing his thing in the Industrial underground years after any mainstream interest in the genre had faded. Guerilla warfare.

48 hours’ worth of archival reel-to-reel material from the 3-year period mentioned above was recently digitized, and from that the 2 best hours were chosen for this 2014 2CD release. Disc 1 is studio and disc 2 is live stuff. Some or all of the material– unclear how much– is previously unreleased.

Samples, modulated electric guitar, synthesizers, distorted voice, feedback hum, death rhythms. The compositions suggest carefully controlled improvisation. He really puts his cheap drum machine through its paces. These selections are not necessarily all hard on the ear (most are) but all have an underlying menace. Over the span of these sometimes-lengthy tracks Jolivet seems to form an eerie symbiosis with his various looping, squealing, sputtering inputs. There are a few musical moments scattered throughout, and some very abstract (e.g. 2.1), while a lot of it falls between noise and structure. T.s 1.1 + 1.4 excerpt multiple consecutive pieces.

This is real Industrial: machine music for ritual hypnosis, kamikaze conditioning sessions as fresh-sounding in 2017 as when they were recorded. Breath-taking.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on July 12, 2017 at 3:07 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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