Musique Grossière translates as “coarse music”: apt for a record that feels like a 2020 iteration of Cronenbergian horror prosthetics. Synth tones bulge out of computer screens, wet and plastic, smeared and grinned by the refraction of curved glass. Computer artefacts (code errors, whirring computations) are rendered in bloated 3D, inviting touch with the fervour of shining blisters. The record seems to belong to a reality that isn’t quite this one – one notch back from the realm of solid objects and human touch, one forward from swiping uselessly at holograms – and each track squirms and slurps through this jellified sensory interstice, not so much heard as kneaded in the hands, morphing between the feeling of flicked drainpipes, to corrupted techno discs, to dogs panting along air vents.
The uncanniness extends to the music’s sense of narrative. Smooth, linear causality is abandoned – PARSA instead shunts one moment into the next. Opener “Cloth Simulation Battle” cuts between scratchy quiet and metallic clatter, like a security guard cycling frantically between cameras surveying different spaces (virtual aviaries, blast furnaces, laboured life support). “Pulse Train Freighthop” embarks on a manic process of trial-and-error, with five paths of possible progression emerging in each moment and all but one being promptly killed off, with beats asserting the introduction of rhythm one moment and vanishing beneath stuttered static the next. It’s a record that exudes coherence even at its most baffling, like detecting fluency within the knotted phonemes of alien tongue.