Belgium gave to the world a few quite exciting artists. Well, my first “acquaintance” at age of 6 was RenÃ© Magritte. Few years later I was crushed by Front 242, after a while, a Dutch friend of mine introduced me TC Matic (the former band of Arno Hintjens), dEUS are still on the top of my favorites list, and there are a few others as well. Kingdom of Belgium might be a small country – 11,787 square miles (30,528 km2) – , but it’s only prove that “size don’t matter” in some particular cases. Still, Belgium is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU’s headquarters, as well as those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.
In addition, I had in my mind “In Bruges”, the black comedy directed by Martin McDonagh in 2008. And somehow, in my subjective perception, the Belgian art scene delivering mainly pretty gloomy stuffs. Some like it hot, while others chosen the darker path. ITP makes no exception.
I, The Pheonix is a project born in Brussels, the brainchild of Jean-Paul Frenay and Vincent De Puydt, as they call it: “an organic platform”. ITP – far as I heard – is quite an unique something. Label it industrial seems unfair. Rather is a disturbing mixture of dark-wave, garage and gothic rock, a twist of psychedelic and progressive rock, some tasty spices of noise and industrial and lot of creativity.
Exactly the project is not only driven by music but they emerge through different forms of art. I, the phoenix is the playground to conceive using any form of media available: photography, film, installation, graphic design and interactive happenings are all be part of the project depending on their envies.
The record was written, performed, recorded, engineered, mixed and produced by Jean-paul Frenay and Vincent De Puydt. Lyrics by Jean-paul Frenay. Post mix push up and mastering by Johan Delforge. Artwork and photography by Jean-paul Frenay .
The music it’s quite gloomy, contorted and tensioned. Shades of Joy Division, Sisters Of Mercy, as well as after-tastes of Peter Murphy (Bauhaus), EinstÃ¼rzende Neubauten, a twist of Mike Patton’s madness from Tomahawk (FantÃ´mas, Peeping Tom, etc), fingerprints of Gary Numan and splinters of Trent Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails and How to Destroy Angels (band made of Reznor, his wife, Mariqueen Maandig, and Atticus Ross) are melting into one. And I just named a few other artist came up first in my mind only to describe a little bit what’s going on through their 10 songs debut. I think last time Tool was the band so striking and exciting as ITP hits me now.
Sometimes they get quite noisy (“Alpha me”, “Unseen & gone”), other times they slip into some dark, abstract areas of musical explorations (“Another sudden fall”, “Blackhill”) or just shifting from one state into another, pushing the boundaries of their fiver burned music. I love the mysterious, experimental taste of the sparking and glowing tension of “Enter the storm”, the classy dark sounds from “108 seconds before the crash”, the burning grooves of “Idiopathic”, the rawness through “Alpha me”, the smooth and strange blendings of “Another sudden fall”, the shivering dark of “The great escape” with its screaming guitar, the industrial filters of “The infected”, the pumping energy coming from the “Synthetic flavours”, the flow of tension through “Blackhill” and the rocking release of “Unseen & gone”. Sometimes some things are too good to be true, so, please, don’t wake me up.
My birthday comes a few month earlier – thanks to Aurelio of Domino Media Agency –, “I, The Phoenix” have the best chances to become my favorite album of the year. Although, it was released on 15th September 2010, 13 days after my last birthday.