III, Ascension by FEIGUR
Metal electronic hybrid
The human element of touching a musical instrument and creating a unique sound juxtaposed with the anticipated output from coldly programming computer software, invariably promises the unexpected, whether it's from a post-Punk premise, like the evolving work of Nik Colk Void or a palette of acoustic ambience, like Federico Durand's wistful sketches or heavy rhythms traversing Dub and Techno, like Justin Broadrick's many motley monikers. On his new album III, Ascension, French artist Adrien Tibi, aka FEIGUR, joins this eclectic association.
Coming from an established base of Black Metal (he's been making this rousing racket for more than ten years), Tibi works familiar genre traits, like long, core-shaking chords, doom-bent bass, quiet and loud contrasts etc, into a deeply atmospheric 45 minutes. But the "metal" vibe is barely discernable outside the context of his previous work. In place of the throat-ripping growl we have vocal snippets, like dialogue from a film (including an emotive contribution from Joanna Stawnicka on I Déchirements: No. 3, Immobilisme) and instead of generic "Rock" drums we have skittering IDM beats (on II Deuil de soi, deuil de l’autre: No. 2, Ascension) and a pattering bass rhythm on III Apaisements: No. 1, Au dessus des steppes).
Tension is a key element throughout with many tracks building a sense of doom, with a simple piano loop, drawn out drones or sustained guitar chords anticipating an onslaught of crashing noise but each time the tension fizzles out, side-stepping expectation. It takes nearly thirty minutes before the pressure drops as we're momentarily blasted on III Apaisements: No. 1, Au dessus des steppes but curiously this fleeting release proves wholly sufficient. And as we reach the concluding track III Apaisements: No. 3, Ascendance, the simple piano melody that builds with layers of background noise before fading away, once again echoes the albums recurring motif, perfectly illustrating the product of human and computer synergy.