Clement Meyer, Modern Primitivism

Artwork by Josh Reames

[Get The Curse Music]

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Although the Paris-based label Get The Curse Music was launched in 2010 with an EP from its label head Clement Meyer, it has since turned into a solid techno platform for many other electronic artists exploring the darker aesthetic of the genre. Meyer himself hasn’t released much — Modern Primitivism is his third 12″ for the label. Listening to his earlier output, this four-tracker might come off as quite a surprise. Indebted to the stylistic elements of EBM, industrial, and early electronic music, referencing Chris & Cosey and even Don Buchla, it can be seen as a deviation from his older productions. Instead I hear a transitional collection that includes every bit of his personal stamp, often with brutal results.

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Modern Primitivism approaches the aforementioned genres regularly, but as the opening track “Chronomanic (Pt1 & 2)” quickly reveals, they turn out to be just one source of inspiration. Meyer brings his arsenal of modernized sounds into play, opening the door for every bit of their thick percussive potential. While the thumping rhythmic skeleton sits firmly in the song structure, spastic snares, vertiginous bass howls, and maniacal synth squelches fire from all sides. Even if it takes the trophy for being the most ruthless of the bunch, the surprises begin with the next track, “Red Band Trailer,” chugging and throbbing at 100 BPM with a healthy dose of background hiss. It eschews rhythmic boldness in favor of twinkling modular signals, undulating dubby soundscapes, and dismantled guitar licks. Instead of giving the impression of a throwback, it constructs a decelerated, digitally intensive groove stemming from the basic principles of the dance music past it references. B-side “Buchla,” concocted of fizzy and disorienting 60s psychedelic abstractions, further deepens this approach, unfurling into a slowly revolving sonic chandelier: spacious and contemplative. The release closes its adventurous cycle with a “Chronomanic” remix by Dublin’s Lumigraph, who delivers a lo-fi, jackin’ interpretation of the original, riding on its initial grim momentum of general unease and abrasive vertices of analog noise, gradually morphing into a much warmer, techno/industrial hybrid.

Modern Primitivism sounds very modern indeed, even if its approaches to sound, style, and dynamics are inspired by early electronic music and dance experiments. It is, in fact, maybe the most intensely rewarding slice of Clement Meyer’s work for quite some time. Together with Lumigraph’s exceptionally singular vision, the release offers an interesting insight into the potential of contemporary dance music from the standpoint of just exploring something and hopefully adding to the larger answer of what electronic dance music is, should, or could be. Honest, bold, and looking at both directions of the time axis, it leaves me curiously wondering where Meyer might be heading next.

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