It's a "Two-For-Tuesday"! On Wednesday! Here are two absolutely spellbinding albums by French composer Pierre Bastien, who, since childhood, has been fascinated with the idea of incorporating machines into music. His first experiment was with a spoon attached to a metronome striking a pan. Since then he has come far indeed, constructing Erector Set-like rockin' robots, and on his "Mecanoid" album, brilliantly incorporating (non-hip hop) turntablism. Over the repetitious rhythms of his machines he often blows cool Miles-like jazz horn. The results, on his "Musiques Machinales" album, range from the Steve Reich-like minimalism of "Chez Les Crânes" to "Marchin' Band," reminiscent of "Rain Dogs"-era Tom Waits. Scratchy fiddle and, on at least one song, what sounds like a musical saw also feature in his cabinet of curiosities. Like Frank Pahl and the Scavenger Quartet's "We Who Live On Land", gorgeous melodies such as the one on "Vipers" from "Musiques Machinales" sell these obtuse ideas. Magical.
PIERRE BASTIEN "Musiques Machinales"
PIERRE BASTIEN "Mecanoid"