Charles Barabé
Stigmates [CS; 905 Tapes]

A real eye-popper/exploder. This is one of the more surprising spools to roll through the reels of my deck in some time. Mr. Barabé is a Montrealite who’s in charge over at the La Cohu label. For his own music he’s composing some kind of bizarre musical bric-a-brac, nether-world insanity. This is my first engagement with his sounds and after listening through a few times I have a feeling that no two releases of his would be alike considering how each track succeeds to do a complete 180. (I guess I’ll have to find out, and indeed, this crazy ass tape is one of those insatiable intruig-ers that instantly begs further investigations). On Stigmates, Barabé guides the listener through some kind of a surrealist macabre theater, outlined with chapters (which are listed as such on the J-card and announced on the tape in a deeply creepy voice in between musical passages). Each piece here sounds composed of different structural elements. I’m hearing a lot of synthesizers, no-input noise makers, sampled acoustic instruments, foreign opera voices, modulators, and hand drums. Those things are all spread out over druggy meditations that make your mind feel like a jungle of thoughts, shrieking noise fits that might make you scratch something you shouldn’t for too long, and also strange Classical passages from something like an inter-planetary chamber group. This all comes out a little nonsensical, and so tracing any kind of real story or pattern across this tape is pretty much impossible as dense and disorienting all this general weirdness truly is. The title of the album and that there are several tracks called “Stigmate” (“Stigmate I,” “II,” “III,” “IV,” and so on) seems to clue that Barabé is investigating a series of points or sites of decay, disease, imperfection… and if we can buy at least that much as some kind of a theme or point of grounding for the scattered circuitry that the sounds find their way through, it might (might) help give you an idea of what the fuck this guy is doing. But the best way to find out is to just listen to it, though, so go ahead and do that and if someone could just let me what the hell is happening inside this guy’s brain, that would be great.


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