BZMC: IN D EV IL – EP Review and Interview.

BZMC: IN D EV IL

Winged SunBandcamp 

WSPRO-001

EP | DL

New EP from Maxime Primault dips into the heaviest, darkest, dirtiest sides of a genre’s melting subdivisions, of a style’s molten, subconscious cauldrons. Fat and heavy, darkness and light, IN D EV IL is an EP of opposites that unlocks them all via a philosophical approach to using computers as instruments of attack, of stripping back the skin and speeding up the machines beneath.

More than a decade into the exploration of different production and performance techniques, the latest offering from French electro-experimentalist Maxime Primault is one that works the senses until they reach critical mass; a symbiosis of distillation and depth, of tones and textures. A mastering as it happens of rhythm and sound; a ride along all points of the electromagnetic spectrum where all its rightful wavelengths cause their own unique breeds of havoc.

Otherwise known as IN D EV IL.

A sonic embodiment of reopening the files that once, and in some ways, always did, fuel his volatile, imaginative spirit. The latest is the result of embracing what was once denounced as the cartoonish characters dressed like morons marooned on a bedroom on the moon amongst a ferocious strip of existentialist electronic intellectuals (techno egocentrism with big muscles>introverted ambience with a biohazard beat), for their being was a little too easy to wrap one’s head around as IDM reconfiguring the compounds that supposedly revitalised electronic music for the better.

The result of finding a modern voice for fun music, rather than just, functional music, for all its diverse symbolism and symptoms.

A porous, omnivorous result.

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”People don’t have to know exactly what I want to express. But I do know. They can feel it, I think” – BZMC.

BZMC: IN D EV IL – EP Review and Interview.LTW: Was the sole premise ‘bangers’ and ‘fat and heavy’? It sounds like all sorts but the common denominator throughout is weight and depth and darkness. What did you set out to do with this EP that maybe you didn’t do before or you felt was right now?

BZMC: One important thing is that it is my very first output that was entirely made on the computer, so it allowed me to be more precise, accurate, production-wise. My knowledge in production was not so big for years, I always choose to focus on the creative side rather than on the technical side but I guess I started to feel it was necessary for me to know better if I wanted to do what I had in mind. So it was kind of a process that took a couple of years, because before that I only used the computer as a recorder basically, using it to overdub layers of machines and instruments. I also started to learn a bit more about production techniques that I was a bit lazy to use before, as I’m always ready to spend hours and hours creating but am quickly bored and annoyed when I have to deal with things such as mixing or tweaking EQs and compressors. Another important thing I tried to do, which was an absolute necessity for what I had in mind, was to have less layers in these tracks. I always pile up layers and layers, and it was kind of my style, but I wanted to get away from that a little bit. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot of sounds, but way less than it could have been.

How did performing in clubs and being involved in that kind of live arena imprint itself into the record?

Well, it’s just so much fun to hear good music on a massive sound system, together with people, with your friends or anyone really. I love this so much. It needs not be too big of a room for sure, I’m not talking about mainstream clubs. When there is a vibe on the dance floor there’s nothing like it, people smile, time stops, everything is good. I love dancing. I think it’s extraordinarily good for anyone to do so. It’s too bad lots of people don’t do it or are a bit afraid of doing it maybe, especially now that we had months without it because of Covid. Luckily we just had like 6 months of peace in that regard and there have been countless great parties, and I’m glad I went out so much because it looks like it’s gonna shut down again.

Clubbing is a good way of learning too, I mean with the DJ’s I love (and there’s a lot), that is playing good music, there are so many impressive ideas, it’s so stimulating. It also taught me that on a big sound system you don’t need so many layers of sound, it’s quite the contrary. It’s not like I completely changed my style or my personality, it’s very important for me to keep this and not lose my touch.

One thing I want to add is that when I started making music in the experimental scene 15 years ago there was a huge contempt for club music there, some IDM stuff was ok, and I was really into it back then, and still am. But techno and other genres were considered stupid and too easy when you find tons of very creative music there.

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Hard Pass hammers into action as the first of the four tunes. An abrasive humanoid posse warps the floor’s reinforced concrete edge as they walk closer to its immense, electric centre. Tough and propulsive layers of keyboard played like a bank of levers creak into action, turning the entire architecture of a city upside down with one heavy tipping of a switch. Bending notes break the skin with a surgeon’s scalpel. Skin welded together by sentient, synthetic percussive lunges, moody computer grooves and intense flexes of fast industrial muscle. Spherical rollercoaster rhythms dip and twist and invert logical, linear ways of making music. Here they flip and unfold and insert themselves into the arteries of a kinky city in the throes of the cold cosmos below a ceiling of infinity mirrors and smoke-coated chrome walls.

Second song in, Q W VF Prudence is a fusillade of perplexing dense textures and dark atmospherics. Burrowing percussion squirms in finger pilloried. Daft musical maths and gestating electronic gestalts explode and fleck into the face of everything looking inward. Disjointed spots of demented dubstep warp and distort entire portals hovering behind a crumble of towers. Every shockwave reduces them to capsules of dirt. It works wonders at hitting the nail firmly in the nucleus of his computer’s brain if one of Maxime’s intentions when making the EP was ”with the computer as a source. Doing kicks and bass and everything with it, it was all so much cleaner and then left enough space and dynamics to make it sound heavier, stronger. It was the whole purpose of switching my way of recording”. 

And because of this present change, the recent expression of an internal itch to unload what computers can be capable of when dismantled and rearranged by the power of a human hand, there’s an attempt to touch the kind of sonic summits we experience here. Conjured in all their glorious precision. Their collision of eruptive polyphonic detail, it’s conjoining of oddities to materialise the grandeur of the damn whole. A brain torn apart then taped back together.

The premise for educating himself about the ins and out of sound when the heart and soul of the thing arrived beautifully balanced between a binary of headphone: dancefloor. This percentage superbly influenced the overall flow of things and ushered along the thematic grooves of the record. A set of percentages shared between two states of mind, two strategies in place, but one working perception, that ”impacted many compositional choices”, Maxime informs me.

Adventurous and ambitious is to say the very least, this handful of compositions, smart and slick, sometimes still yet always on the move, sometimes tranquil yet always boldly battling toward, or banging its head again, a particular peak of immense energy, or fierce apotheosis, of madman climax, trajectory, and pizzaz. Compositions of a distinctly tumultuous, wonderful pulsation that crack apart the atoms of each atmospheric track that musically fuel the streets it blankets. Particles that compile drill all spinning in the ethers of a neo-noir matrix.

But it was a new experience for us both. A new EP to make. A new EP to make sense of as some kind of journalistic challenge.

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”I think it’s the first time that I make a record that is not only supposed to be played on your living room’s turntables or on your headphones but possibly, hopefully, for a crowd on a dancefloor” – BZMC.

LTW: This is new musical territory to me. It’s not something I’d usually reach out for writing about but I’m interested nonetheless as it possesses a challenging, shapeshifting, odd, and electronic-industrial vibe that is tougher and more muscular than your stuff as High Not new as in, it’s been newly sent over for me to look at or newly produced, but it’s a new palette of sounds you’ve picked from and presented…

BZMC: It’s true it’s very different from the music I used to do as High Wolf. It might seem like a big change but it’s a long process that started 6 or 7 years ago I guess. I’m not so sure what kind of music it is but for this particular EP, I was very influenced by UK dubstep music, both old and new, and UK Bass music too, a bit of Trap and Drill as well. I’m not good at recreating genres, and not so interested in doing so anyway, so it’s a bit of a mix of this and that. I always listened to rap music, and BZMC started with that as the main influence, but it was never really noticeable in High Wolf’s music which is more bright and spacey, tension-free. Lately, my music went darker for sure, probably because of everything we’re going through. And also I spent a lot of time in clubs over the last few years and it really triggered my desire to compose tracks to would sound great on a big sound system.

You articulate your view of music a lot like me: it’s graphic and abstract and evokes images or settings rather than actual sounds. Was there something you visualised, something you like to reach when you record, a kind of overarching thematic coherency between each piece, some underlying, bubbling undercurrent that kept things in this dark, strange, spooky kind of sonic space you referred to?

Yes of course I’m very focused on the flow, on the equilibrium, the part vs the whole. Every record needs to have this flow I can feel, that feels right. For example, with that EP, there was a track I really really liked and that I tried to include but it just wasn’t right, it was a bit faster than the other jams and it did stand out in a way that was not so satisfying for such a short record, it kinda messed with the vibe. So I decided to take it out, although it was objectively one of the strongest tracks, and I replaced it with another one that served the vibe of the whole thing.

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Sparks fly in the shadow of a mighty high-rise. Aggressive molecules of after-hours party science manipulate into moody grooves in a test tube on a car park on the dark side of the council estate. With meat between their teeth and blood on their tongue, an unnerving whirlpool of satanic shamans with confetti erections dig deep into the platforms of a subconscious completely consumed by id and piles of sound systems ruined to all but their shells throughout the ages. Restless, energetic reflexes of bass and drum, sometimes fidget and suffused in unison; other times, fight against and feast on, each other.

But such a monstrous articulation of what I’m getting was laboured over, meticulously, through a loving discipline to keep the art sharp and sticking to a particular path. One outlined with a million fizzing frames of hieroglyphs that glimmer and pop. A path built on the fiberoptic, gilded splinters of outlining the pathways streaming below chiaroscuro landscapes. A visual EP. A visceral EP. One of the experiments and shredding excess. Of overcoming impossibility and decrying the easy way out as a quick escape route that lingers in the mind as a lifetime of compromise and chicken-shit shortcuts.

Instead, fancying himself as an exponent of the ribcage as a living dubplate, master of the fidgeting, digital spill and metallic spaghetti mess scoring spores in neon nebulous space, the work is more feral, yet more refined.

Kilis twists with tribal rapture. Maddening machinations of bass and drums are stretched over surfaces and could lose all sense of balance. Yet always quickly recuperate and bite back with pumped, psychedelic force and enthrallment. All voodoo rhythms and demonic, ominous voices are summoned up from the underground whilst final track Wh8te crashes into action through the forbidden dodecahedron engines with an otherwordly voyage of mutinous, lunar gangsters lovingly toiling a score of spoked, dubby basslines submerged belowground with blood on their thumbs and syrup on their lips. Intercom lullabies. Telekinetic strobes of light splitting screens of smoke in urban Tokyo. Laughing without batteries. Eruptions of magma-noise sail along with the serenity of a splendid panoptical spectrum shining in the night definitely belong to the ’90s.

Wires kiss on puddles of metallic liquid. Warbles and wobbles of furious jelly-bass frequencies crunch above the rest of everything else, reaching the core of all that crawls around it and reducing their limbs to luminous collages of paperclips. Nightmarish alien voices, incoherent and yearning to reach melodic peaks, lulls, and hums disguised as the internal mantras of the mind.

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A lot like a previous Black Zone Myth Chant release, Anteryalyzem, which was a musical externalisation of ‘schizophrenia and paranoia’, I was fascinated by this succinct, little maxim that contains a rather lofty sentiment if you pick at it enough: distillation and depth. It’s as though each release by the BZMC alias and its permutations is a way to explore grander themes, bigger thoughts than just ‘a song on a record, in any order you like’. Can you explain this more?

I don’t always have precise concepts like on Anteryalyzem or with my Shelter Press LP, Voyage Sacrifice, but there is a sensible mood and atmosphere I’m very attached to for every record and live sets too.

I have many many tracks I can play live and I change my sets all the time but it’s some kind of science for me to have the equation right, a good dosing between fast and slow, hard and soft, dark and bright, whatever. Or a specific emotion. Maybe it has to do with my interest in narrative arts; literature and cinema. An album or a live show is like a tiny cosmos, and you have to set the laws of physics right so it can exist and grow its own life.

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Upon scratching away at their surface to reveal the layers of life writhing beneath, Primault fully realises his vision of seeing what others only hear. An apple made of concrete swirling in amazing space. What others only think they hear, but remain suspended in strange dispositions of pleasure and unknowingness.

This is an exact optimal epitomisation of the impetus for this new EP when it was a lightbulb flashing wildly from his wired, inspired, bustling brain. That is; club music as a dimensional gateway. Emotion as a palpable experiment we all experience as it happens. An instantaneous endorphin fix. Club music as the grounds to unleash altered states of playfulness and provocation. With a penchant for the edge. An insatiable taste for pushing things to their extremes, and pulling them back. The skull situated between the headphones as a pit for a  torrent of exhilarating, electronic goodness with a rocket of noise shoved up its arsehole in a way more graceful than grotesque, more body-horror as sketched onto dark parchment by H.R Giger than drum ‘n’ bass. On dancefloors designed by Gropius, The Model by McQueen in ’97, Death Grips signed to Def Jam, Wu-Tang sent back from the future stood before a firing squad, some unstoppable outpour of alternative junkyard hip-hop from the asylum cells in the basement, this is physics for the ears. Eat it.

BZMC | High Wolf | Winged Sun Records

Editing – Baptiste Le Chapelain

Animation – Vica Pacheco 

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Ryan Walker is a writer from Bolton. His archive can be found online here.

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