The second day of the Tesco festival starts off with conspiratorial ambient electronics from Galerie Schallschutz. Two projection screens flank the stage, displaying acts of enhanced interrogation techniques, explorations of secret government bunkers, and various surveillance equipment. Sky busting super-weapons and extraterrestrial communication round out the overarching themes over the past 10 years of this project’s existence. On stage are a duo of performers on two tables decked out with various digital and analog equipment, including electronic percussion. Their mid-tempo ambient electronics is made eerier with distorted and reverberated vocals, a welcomed harsh element to their hypnotic sound. I couldn’t recall specific tracks, mainly because I was focused on the visuals, but video elements indicate material from “HAARP” (“Angels don’t Play this HA(A)RP”, in specific), and the recently released KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation. The grittier, Industrial material very much sounds like Teddybear, potentially “Electrical Nerve Gas”. This was one of the better sounding Galerie Schallschutz performances, but I would have liked to have seen some of their more theatrical actions from past shows.
Jérôme Nougaillon should be recognized as the Post-Industrial renaissance man that he is. On top of his highly regarded Propergol project, he also runs his own independent label in Hermetique, mastered over a dozen releases (including two Genocide Organ remasters for Tesco Organisation), and produces stunning visual designs via Panopticon Studio. His video trailers are known to be some of the best in the genre, displaying a professional level of craftsmanship. So it’s of no surprise to see that tonight’s performance was more of a visual showcase of Nougaillon’s latest videos, backed by both new and old Propergol tracks. While I enjoy the gritty, raw video elements of many Power Electronics and Industrial projects, (see The Grey Wolves), the flood of YouTube amateurs has saturated that style. So it is exciting to see such high quality material on a large projection screen. In terms of content and theme, the word would be paranoia. Cameras encircle giant imposing skyscrapers, like mountains of concrete and glass piercing the clouds, simultaneously evoking feelings of grandeur and claustrophobia. Tigers battle for dominance, and the clock pumps cortisol into the system with each rapid tick, pushing you closer to fight or flight responses. The city looms ahead, home to random acts of violence, urban terrorism, and body mangling car wrecks. The ambient soundtrack leads up to “Running Scared” (from the new album Paradise Land) and comes to a conclusion with a final tick of a clock. Church bells introduce “The Getaway: Roadside Story”, originally released as a video trailer from Panopticon Studio and later retitled as “Psycho Road” on the new album. City traffic is the blood stream that runs through the concrete heart of darkness. The frantic video footage of airplane failures bring to mind the Ground Proximity Warning System album, but the audio is a lot more kinetic than I remember the album being. The looped flood of bodies crashing against a concrete wall, which utilizes Hollywood found footage, serves as a fitting analogy for the human swarm of mediocrity. All throughout the music and video were perfectly in sync, making me think that much of the audio tracks were re-edited versions of their studio counterparts, mixed live. Jérôme Nougaillon recently revealed plans for this video material to be released for home viewing. Whether it comes out as its own release or part of a new album is yet to be decided. Either way, I’m looking forward to it.
“Paranoia of the system is the main idea. A feverish run away from this world (inside & outside the system). But it’s an uncertain way out. A sort of decayed ouroboros.”
– Jérôme Nougaillon