HIV+ – Theatre Of Cruelty (Album – Unknown Pleasures Records)

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Genre/Influences: Industrial, Industrial-Ambient, Experimental.

Format: Digital, CD, Vinyl, Cassette.

Background/Info: Pedro Peñas y Robles became a renowned artist throughout the years. We of course know him from multiple music projects, but also as label owner, DJ, performer and author. HIV+ is a music project he set up more than twenty years ago now. During the past few years he mainly released works in collaboration with other artists. This new opus is a conceptual album meant as a tribute to the famous French poet, novelist and actor Antonin Artaud –who belonged to the famous French surrealist movement.

Content: The album features multiple guests and contributions from artists like Marc Hurtado (Etant Donnés), Barkosina Hanusova (Years Of Denial), Phil Von (Von Magnet), Marc Caro, Alice Botté and Emmanuel Hubaut. I’ve always connected HIV+ with Industrial music and this influence is clearly coming through although transposed into a more Minimal and Ambient approach. I get the sensation listening to an Industrial soundtrack featuring dark and even horror-like passages. Most of the vocals are spoken-like and reveal  a true ghost-like effect.

+ + + : First we have to salute the great concept behind this work; an ode to genius Antonin Artaud by HIV+ and a fine list of contributors. Next there’s the sound approach revealing a somewhat Experimental, but fascinating exploration of Industrial sound treatments transposed into an imaginary soundtrack devoted to the work of Artaud. I like the minimalism of the Electro-Industrial sounds mixed with French samplings and mainly ghost-like vocals. “Extase” featuring Phil Von is pure drama, which is a quite recognizable approach in the theatrical universe of Von Magnet. Two tracks are featuring Marc Hurtado and especially the opening piece (cf. “Amour”) is a brilliant and tenebrous-sounding song. Two other cuts are featuring Marc Caro and I especially recommend listening to “Injection”, which sounds a bit heavier. “Limbes” is the other track with Marc Caro, which is another attention grabber for its global progression.

– – – : Some passages are a little bit too Experimental to my taste, this way missing an apotheosis.

Conclusion: A great concept adapted in a fascinating Industrial Soundtrack approach.

Best songs: “Extase”, “Amour”, “Injection”, “Limbes”, “Amour Sans Trêves”.

Rate: 7½.



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