- Expectations are the worst, ain't they? Perhaps that's why for his first piece of wax in a good long while, Marc Leclair, AKA Akufen, has chosen to revive the Horror Inc. moniker. Despite not having have the sort of scalpel-sharp studio antics of past releases under his other—more well-known—moniker, Aurore is as filled with twilit shadows and moody atmospherics as either of his past Horror Inc. 12-inches. Where it's different is almost everywhere else.
The title track leads in with the sharply-edited percussion he'll hopefully always be known for, but it's a bit of a wind-up as you'll realize when the shimmer of a languidly-strummed and slowed-down guitar intrudes over the crisp, complex, punchy drums. Wait, is that a piano? A haunting Balkan fiddle? The well-lit, repetitive melody echoed across various forms of natural-sounding instrumentation offer a hint of what's coming, but they're couched enough in the familiar forms that you might be a bit surprised when "Crépuscule" drops and you find yourself in a '40s psychodrama.
Twisting through the same medieval back-alleys and turning around the same dark corners as "In My Garden" from 2004, but stripped of all the predictable, thumpable trappings of house, "Crépuscule" is a clearly electronic record that sounds otherwordly in a very non-electronic way. If that sounds vague, it should—this isn't music that can be described in terms of microgenre or set placement. It's a Dario Argento soundtrack played by a Gallic jazz quartet raised on a diet of hard bop and Simenon novels, gracefully banging out a noir mood-piece only occasionally interrupted by the spooky DJ with his dark, desperate samples and cut-ups.
"Dans La Nuit" is a bit of a return to the old boom-clack boom-boom-clack, with a staggeringly pretty glockenspiel/bell/harpsichord refrain that dominates the proceedings even when the briefly-seen funky electrobass meanders through. But then midway through it veers acutely into an acoustic piano-led nocturne out of which the drums are rather dramatically dropped to showcase (you guessed it) the sound of our jazz combo from "Crépuscule," laying down a Chico Hamilton back-beat for some muscular stand-up bass, a warm trumpet and the return of those glorious bell tones. The fusion is a slightly stiff but well-plotted one, and it makes for a perfect October record.
B2 Dans La Nuit