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Horrific Child - L'Útrange Mr. Whinster CD (album) cover

L'╔TRANGE MR. WHINSTER

Horrific Child

RIO/Avant-Prog


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

One of those mega-rare albums that got erected into some kind of a "darkest and spookiest" myth, probably mostly for price reasons by whomever happened to own a few copies and hoped to cash in. With an almost laughably-bad artwork, this album was released in 78 on the Eurodisc label in small quantities and sunk without a trace. Almost forgotten, the semi-legit Finder's Keepers did a fantastic research job for the booklet of this album CD-release's booklet, even it does increase the horror/dark side unreasonably more than it should. They even managed to add two bonus tracks on the album's original three tracks

This so-called concept album is more like a would-be horror movie soundtrack if the film had ever been shot. In some ways this "plight" would actually be a good thing since the music would make more sense than if it had been the soundtrack of the film with all of the moments that wouldn't translate well onto image-less vinyl. Yet, despite this "advantage" this is still quite disjointed, senseless and not quite as spooky as "advertised" by its reputation. Indeed the spookiness comes from the vocals and texts, but not much from the music itself. Indeed HC's music is dwarfed in the spooky music department by Shub- Niggurath or Present/UZ. The music itself is sometimes interesting with moments reminiscent of Floyd and others of Yes (with a bit of imagination), but overall they have their own psych-proto-prog sound, not too far away from an Arthur Brown, with an ethnic flavour in the opening Frayeur and its African chants and rhythms.

Where things go awry are the vocals and narratives that, if you have good notions of French, are almost laughable in their naivety ruin the credibility of the music, even delving in the Maldoror myth. The whole thing (music + words) are relatively demonstrative and illustrative, something that Belgium's 48 Cameras managed similarly on a few of their albums as well. The sidelong HLA track has some strings at the start, but they're absolutely no ropes that wilml rivet and fix you down to your armchair, despite it being the highlight of the album., but bears the influence of A Saucerful Of Gumma. Another comparison point would a slightly more laughable Black widow debut, but less fun music- wise.

The two short bonus tracks are much in the line of the album, and you wouldn't know that they were tacked on as extras soundwise, if it wasn't indicated so in the booklet. Of limited interest, but not completely devoid of qualities, but musically this sounds more like 69-71 than 78-79. Unless liking "gothic" ambiances, better stay away.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#379220)
Posted Thursday, January 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars The superb cover art gives you an idea as to how this monstrosity of an album sounds. A conglomeration of sounds confront us at the beginning with pleasant European guitars that quickly give way to Saharan drumming and chanting by natives of Chad by the sound of things, which morph into the Frenchman responsible for this album mouthing eerie incantations.

I always seem to pick the most difficult albums to review. This is, however pretty tough to describe.

30 seconds in to 'Angoisse' and there's a horrible hiss from Jean-Pierre Massiera's teeth as he tries to pronounce a word full of the letter '"S" - so shrill, my ears start flapping.

Unfortunately I can't speak a word of French and there's a lot of it being spoken here, so I'm at somewhat at a disadvantage. Deeply reverbed 'Jamie Curtis Halloween' piano and screeching strings intermingled with spoken vocals create an all-consuming atmosphere which half of the listeners will either find hilarious or downright alarming.

I really don't know what to make of this short curiosity at all. 'HIA' begins with creepy keyboards, heartbeat, screams and footsteps (in amongst my vinyl clicks and pops). Non rock drums, running horses and creaking doors add to my confusion. Bits of classical music appear and more running footsteps and heavy breathing which leave me totally perplexed. 6 minutes in and things go all Floyd 'Meddle' style, only to rapidly be struck dead by a bolt of lightning.

More damn horses and some female wailing with owls hooting in the background makes this most the most difficult of albums to convey. There's not much tune, but plenty going on and lots of atmosphere in a 70's horror kind of way.

Multiple vocal tape loops take over before we visit a Caribbean Island where everything is all nice and peaceful. Within seconds someone starts screaming which gets me all hot and bothered. Thankfully the one minute outro is the only constant, where a couple of guitars and an organ play a nice little repetitive tune to see us out of this nightmarish, but silly album. Blimey! What an ordeal.

Good or bad? No idea...

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Send comments to Dobermensch (BETA) | Report this review (#410604)
Posted Thursday, March 03, 2011 | Review Permalink
Guldbamsen
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP
Site and Forum Admin
3 stars Frankenstein music - how much can you cram inside an album?

This is the second album I ever bought with a man wearing a fish head!

Though not as avant blues orientated as Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica, this thing sure does get convoluted and haphazard from time to time. The instant human reaction in pretty much all we do, is trying to locate patterns - things that make us go: Ahhh, now I get it! The thing is, that with a lot of the avant-guarde releases, and here I am not simply talking about a Frank Zappa album or the odd Samla Mammas Mamma, -but the ones that sound like a demented orchestra playing tick tack toe on pots and pans inside your local diner, - you are some times left with mayhem running in all directions without much of a red thread to follow. Sure, after a while you come to grips with the situation and the feel of the album - suddenly remembering what goes where and when, but a lot of this stuff stays uncomfortable and angular, twisted and distorted - at least when you start comparing it to 'regular' music that is....

This is NOT 'regular' music! Starting off in the midst of a horror flick with an out of breath person - running away from something, with squeaking noises, fumbling beats and a weird pseudo musical segment ebbing and flowing - conjuring up an atmosphere of unease and a sense of anything can happen, and it most probably will.

The threatening ambiances of the organs here actually sound like remnants off of an old Bela Lugosi movie, and when you then hear those creepy unbalanced tribal drums filling up the backdraft as well as a dark burping narrative voice that seems to stem from a watery grave - the whole feel of insanity and horror all starts multiplying by the second. (If I am relegating this album as something for the weirdo initiated and few - that's probably a pretty good perception.) Then you have the immanence of the fan- faring trumpets, the old school string arrangements and a couple of hundred freak show sound effects, that perfectly mirror this parallel universe. Cat screeches, rotting doors opening, scrambling moogs from outer space, crying, shouting, horses neighing, African chanting(Oh yes I am not even kidding you!) owl howling, winds and then some. It is done rather brilliantly, and you feel like you've stepped into an old cinema, where the screen has gone missing.

I don't find any of this particularly frightening - as a matter of fact, most of the music found within this little Frankenstein soundtrack, leaves me chuckling like a little girl scout. There are however some musical passages hiding in there that rise above the quirky madness, and transport the listener to a strange twisted Pink Floydish land, where cymbals a-crashing and the silky smooth guitar talks familiar in your ear. These are quite beautiful - as well as the few scattered female choir ornamentations that counter the grim and loosely assembled musical puzzle pieces. Additionally, I do particularly enjoy the percussive electronics that commence the second cut here. Sounds like a flickering woodpecker with a rudimentary sense of melody.

I guess most of the album is based upon the Maldoror legend, but then again I am not French. I do however understand most of the lingo here, and what I am able to pick up seems to fit within the Maldoror sphere like a fly on a turd. The last cut features a narrative voice reading a passage of Lautreamont, in which Maldoror describes from the inside what he feels as his decomposing body is being eaten by worms, crabs, dogs and other animals. The choice of words seems pretty repugnant, but I personally love the assumed vileness of it all.

Recommended to avant heads with a soft spot for old horror movies and theatrics. 3.5 stars.

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Send comments to Guldbamsen (BETA) | Report this review (#778518)
Posted Wednesday, June 27, 2012 | Review Permalink

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