Mil Pluton is a fascinating meeting place of Pole Position synth swoops, $2 drum-machine rhythms, and vocals eaten back to life by swarms of sound maggots. Èlg (Laurent Gérard) seem to pine for the past, even as he forges into the future, and this counterbalance pulls the music apart like fresh taffy, leaving behind a floppy-disk flexibility that stands up to any criticism (too simple; too plodding; too single-minded) one might lob at it in desperation. Don’t be scared; listen again, for the first time.
This scabbed-over milieu is familiar to those following the Hundebiss label, which tends to get the best of many of its artists (example: Sewn Leather, whose Sikknastafari Slash Crasstafari gave us a nice one last summer), despite being located in a zone that many eBay mo-fo’s won’t even ship to. Èlg fits right into the jaded Hundebiss picture of cracked, fizzled-out rock bent on electronic destruction, adding a soft psych glimmer to the edges that brightens the arrangements like Christmas lights wrapped around a fir.
No review of Mil Pluton would be complete, however, without mention of the 1980s, that perilous decade that saw many of us cutting our young teeth on experiences that would soon morph into the memories we now regurgitate musically and artistically. Èlg possesses the old-school electronic evil to be an anti-Depeche Mode of sorts, yet utilizes many of the glorious inventions since realized to blast much further into the blissful abyss of lasers; thoughtful, pregnant pauses; a space-drone worthy of eMEGO; vocal manipulations straight out of the Niobe desert; and trickles of audio waste that pool up and dry until they’re caked (baked?) into the compositions.
The aforementioned space-drone sends Side B into a lazy cosmic orbit far removed from the more insistent drilling of A. At times, it’s like partying with decapitated Pet Shop Boys, soprano clucks, and more cheap beats, albeit via a much more restless motif, hesitant to settle in a spot where a song might find purchase. I don’t find this approach as effective pound-for-pound, but as far as continuing a steady thrust into the unknown, it works a lot better — an interesting front/flip dynamic that adds intrigue to an already snappy origami-style LP jacket and refuses to let the future coordinates of Èlg be known. Damn them.