In March of this year Trepanation Recordings, Fiadh Productions, and Vita Detestabilis Records released Satan Death Whale, an experimental three-track album by the two members of the French band Non Serviam working through their side project Hiverlucide. It was recorded in live conditions and was described at the time as “their first attempt at mesmerizing through whale chants”:
“Lacking melody, and (de)generating a profoundly misanthropic atmosphere inhabitable for humans by exploring the tritone, with drone apparitions, unidentifiable organic human and animal sounds, electric guitars, and layers and layers of decadence.”
It was further suggested that fans of Sunn O))) and Tangerine Dream might find it especially appealing.
We described the album (at least in part) as an “immersive experience” but in many ways also an “unnerving one” which created manifold juxtapositions: “something like celestial choirs high above, and an immense undulating drone of subterranean depth; shrill piercing cacophonies redolent of pain and madness, moaning chords, and mutated organ-like tones that seem to ring in lunatic glory beneath the vault of an abandoned gothic cathedral; whirlpools of screaming agony bounded by the crushing of rock and the mangling of iron. A hallucinatory sonic nightmare of destruction and despair, it roils the mind and puts the teeth on edge, and to become lost in it is almost inescapable”.
Hiverlucide did not end their harrowing experiment with Satan Death Whale. They created a follow-up improvisational experience, again creating it under live conditions but this time doing it in front of an audience in their first public performance. They named this 22 1/2 minute sequel “For the Abyss“, and today we present it to you in full along with a video of the performance.
What you’re about to witness took place on the second floor of Vin’eel Records in Dinan, Brittany, as a result of an invitation by Christophe Perruchi ((ex-Noir Desir). It’s actually the second of two 20-minute performances by Hiverlucide in that setting on that day, and the sound was recorded by the camera, without any editing. This performance can be considered a continuation of the song “Whale” from Satan Death Whale, which we attempted to describe in the passage quoted above.
As you’ll see and hear, the communion between the two performers (V., on guitar, vocals, and noiuse programming, and W. on keyboards) evolves. Almost immediately they create a sensation of being transported into a crushing abyss where creatures alien to us sing to each other in spine-tingling tones, radiating glimmering phosphorescent lights.
As the performance proceeds, the sounds become an increasingly intricate and elaborate collage, often beguiling but just as often hostile, or at least uncomfortably foreign to surface-dwellers. Long droning tones, abyssal undulations, warbling wails, and piercing shrieks of electronics and voice also create moods of doom and despair, as well as fear. The keyboards also dance in exhilaration, and the music sparkles, but the sounds also come abrasively crashing into you or contort into twisted coils that sear, or drift away into murky mystery.
Another word for the experience is “hallucinatory”, and the video effects and appearances of deep-sea life across the screen make the word come to mind even more strongly. There’s also another communion happening on screen, as two dancers (Sophie and Christophe) give their own interpretation to the effects of the audio ephemera.
It’s tempting to recommend that you simply close your eyes, descend into the music, and discover where it might lead your mind, what thoughts and visions it might inspire, but at least for the first time it’s worth watching as well as listening.
As the title of the piece suggests, it can be considered an homage to the abyss, not merely the oceanic depths but also perhaps to everything we do not know or care to know about the world around us despite all the poisonous illusions of certainty.
In other Hiverlucide news, on July 21st the British Columbia-based label Syrup Moose Records will be releasing a collaborative recording by Hiverlucide and spaceseer entitled Φαλαινομανιτάρι. You’ll find one of its two extensive songs via the link below, where you’ll learn more about what the collaboration represents and where the record can also be pre-ordered:
And of course Satan Death Whale is still available to you in different formats from the three labels that jointly released it, as well as the band.