L’Autopsie Phenomenale de Die translates quite simply as The Phenomenal Autopsy of God and is not only the kind of record one would expect from the cold and eerie Miasmah records, but it’s also the type those of us who have been patient with the label have been waiting for. It’s an album with a very unsettling disposition. It’s bleak and hazy, but not quite as arid as other Miasmah releases and not nearly as in debt to post-classical pit ideals about chamber instrumentation. Most of the work, in fact, is sample-based, although it feels as organic as paranormal experience.
It’s an album of dark corners and alleyways, lurking and deep rather than frenzied and panicked. Hence, more Badalamenti than Morricone. It’s soundtrack work for experimental theater, in this case the disturbing horrorist Belgian collective Abattoir Fermé, that has been fashioned into a long-form album of whims rather than shrieks, although a few of the latter pop up, too. Leitmotifs arise such as the desolate wail of the plaintive horn in a hollow night; percussion that is as textural as it is rhythmic, such as the rattle off a snare rim; elegiac piano anempathetic to the sounds of suffering around it; and the contrapuntal collision of sounds, such as the Theremin that turns into an opera singer. Overall, the bubbling tension feels as if it’s just above or below the surface of the real source of anxiety, like a body beneath the floorboards or a hypnagogic dreamer about to awaken to a real nightmare. There’s no payoff, no smoking pistol, just a vague sense that you’ve not only been a witness to something but also a party to it.
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times. Thanks everyone.