Review: Le Cable De Feu – Firewire

coverI spend much of Firewire feeling trapped within an uncomfortable stale heat: locked inside a server room with no windows, surrounded by broken fans and the hot throb of electricity, sweating into the carpet. I blame those drones. The drones that clog up the air on opening track “Contre Sens”, splaying themselves over every strand of empty space into a grotesque harmonic blur, quivering like worms as they wriggle out of the tape machine. The drones that steal my oxygen on “Mantra Express”, throbbing like heat-induced hallucinations as unidentifiable, tape-scrambled noises gasp and rustle at the edges, perhaps resembling the chill of death closing in on me. Perversely, the collages of Le Cable De Feu seems to foreground “ill-fitting” sounds – those that refuse to slot neatly into the surrounding environment, bulging and twitching uncomfortably in a brash protest at being there, shuffling around like an agitated patient in a hospital waiting room chair. It’s unsettling to listen to them. Can’t they just sit still?

I suppose I could just switch it off, but the group’s obsession soon becomes my obsession. It’s infectious. These assemblages thrive off the moments where reality corrupts the naivety of intention; where machines embarrass themselves by malfunctioning into whirrs of distress, or drones break down as audio cabling starts to fray, or – as mentioned earlier – spaces start to overheat in the absence of functional air conditioning. Any instruments sound damaged or dying; any field recordings are riddled with ugly frictions and mechanical failures. “Post Scriptum” seems to trace the collapse of a brutalist tower block via descending keyboards and distorted drums, and as the track splits and crumbles over an agonising seven minutes – with noise ravaging the mix like hairline fractures – I find myself unable to pull away. It’s an ode to those unforeseen errors that sabotage the samsaric predictability of day-to-day life; the environment in noisy protest at the enforced stasis of a functionality society.