Despite not being able to make the connection with Hyena Hive as an anonymous duo, it is somehow easier to understand with Maussade that B. Julian is in fact Bruno Julian — the solo artist behind the project itself as well as the owner of the label NSN. Though he only began releasing music in 2011 and has only had one release to offer as of this year, Julian came out with a proverbial roar with releases on both Oral (“À La Néantisation De La Vie Par L’Homme Rationnel (Chapitre Premier)”, CD) and MIZANTHENOTAPH (“À Jamais, J’Y Serai Toujours”, Tape) in 2011, the latter of which appears to be another label of his. This year’s release just came out this month (September 2012) as an untitled tape of harsh noise wall on the Anarchofreaks Production label. Though Maussade has been thus-far short-lived, it exists in its infancy as an enticingly impressive testament to Julian’s vision, with this project specifically taking both a militant and a French intellectual stance — a combination rarely seen in the noise and power electronics genres as those typically in that mindset seem to prefer the realm of neofolk and martial industrial.
Maussade plays a style of non-music that is becoming legendary amongst noise fans for its dual nature — its ability to both be incredibly minimal and yet have absurd amounts of depth; to be seemingly void and yet still account for a visceral experience that for some can go beyond meditation; a genre that is reminiscent of being purified through a solid wall of inferno — this is harsh noise wall. This is a genre almost impossible to judge based strictly on its performance quality. It reverses the roles, allowing the artist to use the sound itself as the palette, and infiltrates that blank canvas through expressed intent. In most cases, including this one, that intent is often destructive if not outright violent, and it’s easy to see that Maussade seems to have every intention of following down this path. This said, it’s no surprise that this is by far the longest release on NSN’s discography, clocking in at just under 56 minutes when the final seconds of Side B fade into silence. This is one for full volume, alone-time, and maximum focus.
Somewhat ironically, as perhaps the loudest and most abrasive of all genres, the title of this tape translates to “Finding Peace”. One has to look a bit further than that for the full story though. The militant side of “Trouver la Paix” comes through the silhouette of a scoped automatic rifle inside the J-card, and also the fact that a limited number of these tapes come packaged with some bullet casings. The most informative portion of this tape, however, includes a quote from the influential 20th century French author Louis-Ferdinand Céline, specifically from his 1937 book “Bagatelles pour un massacre” or “Trifles for a Massacre”. This quote sums up Julian’s feelings on both the ignorant consumerism of modern society and those whom have provided the chains for the human race to enslave themselves through commerce, capitalism and pop culture. This, combined with the militant edge and the title of the album, seems to hint at the need for a modern revolution against modernity — not just in terms of government, but against the contemporary fascist approach to corporations. It’s a violent vision, fitting for meditation on hatred through harsh noise wall, but one that perhaps Céline would be proud of if he were alive today.
“We’ve got a couple of myths on the left that I would really encourage us to get over. The first is that social change happens by moral suasion. It doesn’t. It happens by force.” –Lierre Keith