brutum fulmen

flesh of the moon

[2002, c.i.p.]

noise fun fact #2: brutum fulmen is latin for (essentially) an empty threat. impress your friends/get punched for being pretentious, choose your own adventure! now, the trite facts: brutum fulmen, operating out of connecticut, is mainly the outlet for jeff wrench’s experimental work. it seems like the brutum fulmen live experience expands to accommodate tape manipulator ken pfeifer (pictured standing up). jeff’s had a couple of discs released by shiflet’s gameboy imprint, and bf also occupied a side on rrrecord’s new england 5 lp box set, which i need to buy at some point.

i loved this little bit of information about jeff from brutum fulmen’s bio: “i played the saxaphone (sic) for a few years in grade school, but i can no longer read the little bit of music i could at that time, could never keep a beat, can’t sing on key, and am probably tone deaf. i have no more than the most rudimentary understanding of music theory. none of this has deterred me from wanting to and attempting to make music.” gives a bit of hope to the rest of us, eh?

while the above passage may make it seem like brutum’s approach to music has all the delicacy of a blind giant, clearly he’s selling himself short. there is a deliberate calculation to what’s going on with flesh of the moon. jeff (pictured kneeling) likens what he’s doing to musique concrte, and i’m not going to argue with him, the disc is an amalgamation of field recordings, processed found sounds, object manipulation as well as source sounds provided by others.

the overall tone of flesh of the moon is oppressively dark. opener lake of sleep is full of eerie ambiance. now, i don’t think that jeff’s holed up somewhere muttering “i’m the prince of fucking darkness”, but the result of his work comes through as xenakis as influenced by the necronomicon. spooky stuff. haunted space continues with the theme, though, this time as the title would indicate, there’s more of a celestial coldness at its core. my favorite moment is the swell of noise which appears to be rising towards a grand crescendo until it abruptly cuts out and goes back to gravity-less ambiance. pickle mutation is full of outstanding, jarring, noises. the panning of the creaky door hinges is utter brilliance. pipe this one through your house on halloween and guarantee that no one rings your door bell.

flesh of the moon isn’t all minimal, sinister sounding electronics. spore, which uses a severely scratched tore honor be record as a sound source is one of the best pieces on here. great analog crackle amongst god knows what, but after a couple of minutes when the background music comes into focus, this is when the track really shines. for all the talk that jeff did about well, not being very musically-aware, in the traditional sense, this is his contradictory statement. despite the minimalism of it, it’s actually quite musical and manages to be memorable. mourn is another keeper. it starts off with some good droning noise but soon there’s some warmer tones poured over the top of that. not only are the sounds nicely juxtaposed, they also show wrench at his most optimistic sounding. it serves as a pleasing reprieve before the fog-filled lake of dreams brings us to our end. once again, with this track he adds a playful contrast to it, near the end. the placement of it is a bit curious, as it’s not at the end, not during the middle, and it only sticks around for a minute or so before being subdued by the darker elements. perhaps jeff at his most pessimistic?

now this is something that i think is deserving of the word unsettling. sure, i can definitely find you plenty of albums that are darker and more disturbing than this one, but all i’m saying is that as far as concrte goes, i doubt that you’d throw this on as background music while you were reading a book or taking a nap. unless it’s a dirt nap. great stuff, though.

Pickle Mutation

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