Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé record review
coverpic flag Belgium - Full Moon 198 - 10/29/12

Pseudo Code, BeNe GeSSeRiT, Messy Goes Insane, Human Flesh
4 In 1 Volume 3
EE Tapes

Yet another CD release by the EE tape company with the music of Alain Neffe and his collaborators. Alain gave an interview with us many full moons ago where he talked about and described his musical career, including three of the projects involved here. Bene Gesserit has been reviewed in our menus on a few occasions earlier, most recently the relaunch of the duo's 1985 debut LP A High, Happy, Perverse And Cynical Cry Of Joy earlier this year. Welcome to the world of 1980s western European underground music, with swirling synthesizers, cheap electronic gadgets, gloomy recitals, ominous omens, funny and hilarious ideas where most musical capers are allowed. Well, this is a truth with modifications. Only the three songs by Pseudo Code were recorded in the 1980s, around 1981 the CD cover states. The remaining tracks were with one exception recorded in our present millennium, but the free spirit of the 1980s is still there.

Pseudo Code was Alain's electro new wave trio that only lasted a couple of years. They were very productive as long as the band members kept together, but I guess there might have been released more music by the band during the last two years than the preceding 30. Here are three previously unreleased songs. The first, "Drunk (Second Version)", is calmer than we're used to, quite relaxed recital by vocalist Xavier S over a simple rhythm-box and a ditto bass and treble synth arrangement that gets a bit more unnerving in the second half of the song. "Still Alive" is my favourite of the three, disturbed and heavy distorted vocals while the keyboards still keep a low profile. Oppressive, the energy is not being disengaged.

Bene Gesserit's four offerings were recorded in 2010 and 2011 and are a bit different compared to the 1980s recordings by Alain, here aka. B. Ghola and his wife Nadine Bal aka. BeNeDiCT G. The magnificence of her voice is still there though in these four songs it's to some extent a little bit restrained compared to some of her earlier excesses. There is more voice than vocals and the instrumentation is more varied than it used to be 30 years ago. "LiLLy (SHe WRoTe Me a PoeM)" has an ominous deep bass and disturbing synth blips. Spine-chilling! "uN FiLeT De SaNG" best demonstrates that voice. Demanding! The other two are more melodic and with the instrumentation more in the centre. "oN PRoTèGe BieN LeS ReQuiNS..." floats quietly away whereas "LaST SuMMeR" includes an organ and eventually guitar(?) that reminds of early Pink Floyd around A Saucerful Of Secrets. The most immediate track of the album, very catchy.

I don't know much about Messy Goes Insane, but guess it's a Dutch-Belgian joint effort, with female vocals by Messy and instrumentation by the insane Alain. A project somewhere in between BeNe GeSSeRiT and Human Flesh, it seems. Occasionally the qualities of Messy's voice are close to both Bal's and Björk's. Especially in the melodic and fairly harmonic "Beams" and the repetitive "All Mothers" the eccentric Icelandic star doesn't seem to be that far away. The monotony of the latter gets quite hypnotic eventually. The same goes for the harsh bass and unnerving violins of "Sex Out Of Order"; a glimpse in direction of the industrial 1980s.

Human Flesh implies Alain's lyrics and instruments with floating line-ups of guest musicians or vocalists, usually from abroad via mail with or without the e in front. The more than 20 minutes divided into a seven parts track that we're dealing with here, "Perchè (An Electronic Opera)", is in a league of its own. Alain has written the lyrics (then translated into Italian) and arranged the opera, but he isn't playing. It's carried out by four Italians (recorded in 1990), and a Belgian and a French guy (recorded in 2008). It's a mix of beautiful spoken words and soprano opera style singing. The electronic background is mainly non-melodic, always moody, sometimes scary, with some melodic passages in between. Unique and fascinating!

To sum up; 4 In 1 Volume 3 gives a great insight into the sounds and sights of Alain Neffe and his companions both then and now. It'll serve as fine introduction to his musical whereabouts. For those of us who are familiar with some of these bands and projects, the album is a nice addition that occasionally shows new sides of some of them, in particular the Human Flesh offering. And Messy Goes Insane is an interesting new acquaintance.

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