Maison Close – Maison Close (CD, Force Majeure)

maison close

Maison Close’s self-titled release was recorded back in 1998-1999, but Force Majeure has reissued it in a wide pressing for those who didn’t get to hear it back then. This disc is influenced by the film Johnny Got His Gun, which was before that an anti-war novel from author Dalton Trumbo. Many tracks sample dialogue or sounds from that film; in addition, Maison Close works in tracks that dabble in power electronics and industrial.

This thing is jam-packed with noise, with twelve tracks spread out over an hour of sound. Maison Close starts out somewhat slow; its opening track, “Vent D’est – Vent D’ouest”, is a nice mix of industrial drones and churning noise,  but the next couple of tracks kind of waver – “Most of Them Never Come Back” makes Maison Close’s theme known, but it’s also just a track full of dialogue.

It’s not until the later tracks that Maison Close really hits its stride. “Ton – Nihil – Rec” is the turning point; it’s a heavy power electronics track with lots of rhythmic destruction along with the first sign of vocals from M. Kopfringl. He’s got a tribal, incantation-like delivery, howling along to the noise at random intervals. This is copied again on some later tracks, but it works best initially.

The other two great tracks come sandwiched between, with “Pain” and “Interferences”. As their titles suggest, these tracks are the ones that deliver the biggest sonic onslaught – a high-pitched feedback in “Pain” carries over into “Interferences”, which is driven mostly by this loud and painful screech. It works wonders.

There have been numerous releases since this album in a similar vein, but it’s important to remember that Maison Close was recorded back in the late ’90s and released more than 10 years ago. The album holds up well, and is a release that noise fans should feel privelaged to have.

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