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Review: 'Penny Rimbaud's Kernschmelze II'
'Cantata For Improvised Voice'   

-  Label: 'Cold Spring Records'
-  Genre: 'Industrial' -  Release Date: '7th August 2017'-  Catalogue No: 'CSR239CD'

Our Rating:
‘Kernschmelze: ‘the dying gasps of the Age of Enlightenment’. 'Kernschmelze II' is a cantata for voices, in this case the voice of CRASS songstress Eve Libertine, processed by Charles Webber to almost choral proportions. Working on Kernschmelze II alongside Eve Libertine, Penny Rimbaud has been able to produce a classic album on a par with their ‘Acts of Love’ of 1984 (Crass Records). Libertine’s sparse, vulnerable poetics counter the almost Wagnerian scale of the work, challenging preconceptions of what music should be and making strong suggestions as to what it might yet become. Extreme electronics sourced solely from vocal sounds to create noise music of an intense and highly demanding nature.’ So reads the press release.

It's instructive, because without this sense of context, ‘Kernschmelze II’ is essentially an experimental spoken word album, in which much of the word is lost to processing and effects and an endless barrage of electronic noise ruptures. And while the linking of this release back to Crass’ ‘Acts of Love’ provides a point of reference for its more choral tendencies and the experimental bent which informs both albums, ‘Cantata For Improvised Voice’ is much more oppressive and dark and rather more cogently realised.

Occasionally, the hushed, whispered and droning drawl gives way to pained cried of anguish and fragments of song. The overall effect is actually quite disturbing at times, the unpredictable turns of tone borderline on the psychotic, the voice(s) of life on a knife edge.

The eight untitled pieces bleed into one another in a fog of ominous murk, and it’s a heavy, uncomfortable sequence which mines a classic seam of dark ambient / industrial / power electronics to create a most menacing experience.

  author: Christopher Nosnibor

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Penny Rimbaud's Kernschmelze II - Cantata For Improvised Voice