Rarely has music and video worked together as perfectly as in the case of Nicolas Provost’s Papillion D’amour and Köhn aka Jurgen De Blonde’s “Wrath of Köhn.” Köhn’s 1999 album Köhn² reached extremes in ambient electronic, glitch, and noise music. While the album is stunning as a whole, nothing works better than “The Wrath of Köhn.” The relatively short track spends its first half lulling the listener with a hypnotic guitar loop and mournful saxophone courtesy of Jan Verstaen, making it all the more powerful when searing guitar feedback explodes into the picture. You could argue that it’s a cliché as old as Haydn’s Surprise Symphony, but you’d be wrong.
De Blonde’s starkness and intensity in the song leaves a massive impression. It achieves a sort of horrifying beauty that perfectly matches Provost’s grotesque distortion of a crying woman in a scene from Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon. The short, which translates to “Butterfly of Love,” features a mirror effect similar to a Rorschach print. The images slowly morph to the guitar until the woman collapses right as the dynamics shift so violently; the film then begins speeding up until she loses any human form. De Blonde’s song works on its own, but this splicing of audio and video remains a stunningly rare achievement.