20 December 2004


I recall once reading something about Prince's working methods, to the effect that he basically saturated the multitrack tape with sounds and then removed the elements he no longer needed at the mixing stage. The classic example being "When Doves Cry" where, unable to mix the track to his satisfaction, the Purple One had a sudden flash of inspiration and pulled-down the fader on the bassline. With this removed, the track worked perfectly!

Parisian brothers Jean-Baptiste and Frederic Hanak work on a similar principle, except that they don't seem to remove anything. Their music is a riot of messthetic mayhem - vulgar, confused, undisciplined and extremely bloody exciting, I reckon! I like the way the beats don't sound particularly clever or nuanced; it's like they got really drunk, imagined they were Clyde Subblefield (or perhaps Keith Moon!) and started hammering the shit out of a battered electronic drum-kit - in fact, on tracks like "Insects Are Human", the beats are panned across the stereo field in such a way as to suggest two separate, barely-syncopated drum patterns.

I like the fact that they both credit themselves with 'Atari Falcon', as though wearing their obsolete, pre-Powerbook home computers like a badge of honour. Opening track "Pressure" (which is also the title-track on their new 12 inch EP) sounds like a malfunctioning sequencer attempting to replicate The J.B.'s moog-funk wig-out "Blow Your Head"!

I also like the complete lack of decorum. Similar to the psychotic ghettoblaster-crushing primate on the cover, it's clear that dDamage are lacking in social graces. Like two uninvited partycrashers, buzzing on cheap amphetamines, smoking furiously and leaping from one crazy idea to another, babbling with excitement, they just don't know when to shut-up.

MP3:I Feel So BadD

Yet this is a duo who still aren't quite sure what they want to do. Regular doses of pile-driving fuzz guitar suggest that they're closet rock'n'rollers; mangled lyrics recited like nursery rhymes hint at the possibility of songs and then, on "Maeban", a dejected, droning harmonium that reveals that the brothers Hanak have a lot of ideas and feelings to express, but lack the cohesive language to assemble it all in a rational manner which, for the moment, is perfectly fine with me. After 45 minutes in their company, I feel positively intoxicated by dDamage's unrestrained invention.