PAS Musique’s debut release, Abandoned Bird Egg, is a churning, whirling, synth-driven exploration of chaos magick. It is an album that touches on life, death, existence, spirituality, spirit, inspiration, and the futility of describing the indescribable, all the while drifting along in a storm cloud of sounds and textures.
Although I know very little about PAS Musique, it seems very aligned with some kind of occult spirituality that delights in strangeness, sensory overload, and a kind of humourousness—a tongue-in-cheek playfulness that, like many of my favourite practitioners from Robert Anton Wilson to Ivan Stang and Alan Moore, understands that dealing with sacred mysteries and powerful non-human forces demands a rigorous dedication to serious non-seriousness. Track titles like ‘Commercial Space’, ‘Humor in the Quarry’, and ‘Esoteric Funk Classic’ reveal this playfulness openly (while the random sheep bleats that appear in ‘Esoteric Funk Classic’ confirm it). Similarly, ‘Dark Canopy’ begins with a relatively straight-forward pop-rock bass-line, lulling us into a sense of normalcy, before ditching it entirely after less than a minute, and replacing it with a further five minutes of whirlpooling strangeness with the mainstream pop-rock bass-line never being revisited. Being musically tricked like this felt like being told a good joke, and the album is full of this kind of cross-perceptual awareness.
Not that I’m suggesting this is a ‘funny’ or ‘comedic’ release, because it’s far from it. It’s just that, like all proper modern chaos-magicians, PAS Musique understand that magick is drawn from (and found in) the full range of human emotions, and that breaking down the constrictive walls of the establishment occasionally delivers surprising revelations, the cornerstone of humour. It is aware of the power of juxtaposition, of overload, of confusion, and of re-integration. I can imagine that this would be an excellent album to take loads of psychedelics to (I have not yet had the chance).
All of the pieces presented here are woven from the same cloth: some central repetitive spine (oft-times provided by a synth or drum-machine), decorated and embellished over five or six minutes with swirling amorphous sounds of evocation. There is a great deal of panning, layers of strangeness, and playing with sound as an esoteric tool on this album (including some very nice randomised glitching of the human voice, breaking it down into micro-syllables and spraying into the aural space like some kind of language-mist, immediately recognised but defanged of all semantic power). It’s like Psychic TV without the anger; it’s like PAS Musique don’t need to yell at you to be able to open your eyes.
As a piece of psychedelic chaos-magick-made-sonic, Abandoned Bird Egg is pretty much perfect. However, as an enjoyable experience for me personally, the drum machines were a bit hard to handle. Drum machines tend to irk me in general, especially when they have that 80s dance-floor preset vibe, so some of the album’s potential power was lost on me. However, there was still so much good stuff on this release. As far as favourites are concerned, I pretty much loved all eight minutes of ‘The Light Inside’, with the right blend of swirling darknesses held tenuously together by a repetitive synth line (like the slender silver thread that apparently holds the soul to one’s body when one is astral travelling), as well as the final title track with its looped phrases of strings rising and sinking in an ocean of other sounds. Pulses weave in and out of cyclonic crashes, swishes, and distortions, while vastly different threads form a tapestry about reincarnation and the oneness of everything.
Although it feels like there is nothing on this album that will end up being a ‘classic song’, a ‘personal favourite’, or have any real lasting impact of any sort, it was all really enjoyable and immersive, especially after a few listens. In a way, the experience of listening to this album mirrors the general experience of existence itself for most of us: there were some strange parts, some funny parts, some confusing parts, and some dark parts, but it was generally pretty entertaining while it lasted, and none of it really meant much to the world once it was all over. As above, so below!
01) Commercial Space
02) The Light Inside
03) Something Indescribable
04) Modern Witchcraft
05) Esoteric Funk Classic
06) Dark Canopy
07) You Are Who You Are
08) Humor in the Quarry
09) The Strobe Wheel
10) Abandoned Bird Egg