THEATER OF THE IMPULSE,
DRAMATURGY OF THE CIRCUIT:
JULIEN DESPREZ SUMMONING
FLOWS OF ABSOLUTE ENERGY
You can really hear the multiple reflections of the apse if you stay with the space for a moment. Before everything even happens, it is possible to feel the halo, the aura, the scent of past signals creeping from the edges of the semicircular recess, the ghosts of former sonic events. Weird ontologic apparitions haunting the curious geometries of air pressure. Reflection, diffraction, scattering. A spatial map for the blind where every little crawling thing travels by swarming the walls with the impression of an acoustic presence, sending sonic signals to neighboring bodies and abutting objects. We’re all bats here waiting for an aural presage. This temple of convolutions exposes the hoax of silence each second. The angelic figure drowning in the livid blue glow whips its gaze onto a faraway verticality that sound can’t reach, as if it was hinting at the possibility of yet unimaginable acoustic delights. In this location, horns dangerously superimpose monolithic speakers as marvels of modern technology with the winds of biblical beings. Listen.
Ex abrupto, pitch black. Pure obscurity with occasional, annular sparkles. Dead fireflies and secular will-o’-the-wisps troubling your vision for just an instant. Something activates. It is moving around me with machinic, rhythmic cadence. The constant ticks and clicks of automatically operating mechanical apparatuses. The perseverance of an engine devoted to entropy. From this enmesh of intermittent noises fluctuating at random, irregular enough to attract attention, a shape emerges. It Is the audio shape of a string. Or better, the threadlike shape of a number of strings. The distinct filiform blasts of steel-cold pitch-bending and fret-slapping metal. From the muddy opacity of tonal, impulsive characteristics and low-frequency noise, an instrument materializes in our ears. I can see it. A white Fender twitches in the darkness. A tool eliciting high vexation responses already at low ambient noise levels.
Through Deprez’s body, the sudden is worshiped by a shattered blunt force trauma made of steel and wood. A spastic, unrelenting ode to audio obstacles and pitfalls unravels. In and out, the brilliant white strobe light sources command undivided attention down to the smallest detail. shuddering, jarring, quivering. The apse is supercharged with stammering glitch-punk entanglements and configurations, haunted by a magma of extreme textures. Strikingly metallic doom themes with overloaded pedal layers are generated by his six-stringed ax, delivering drastically heterogeneous, manic sounds within each eruption, hacking, thumping and tapping short passes beyond the conventional free-rock lack of bounds. We’re walking the thin ice and obliquus stray paths of jazz’s driving forces and the like. An anti-tradition of art forms framing music as a transaction between different thermodispersive forms of energy.
He is on top of his floor gear with legs and arms in perpetual motion, never losing grip of the gift and kick of swift delivery, stunning slashes and unexpected executive displacements. Each action expands the expressive groundwork for the intense buildup of a larger-than-life presentation of the performer. Suddenly, I am looking at the shredding counteractions of a drummer, or at the audacious, brazen hands-’n-feet play of a Hammond organ player. The guitar is just a path, a controller, a computation relationship, even.
It’s not rocket science. It’s not anything symbolic or metaphoric. It's a synergistic material splicing of percussive evasive maneuvering in a hyper-speed triggering glimmervoid. From extreme black to sudden fierce whiteout. Parallax flickerings, challenging the eyes’ refocus ability, bending reality into a jerk motion with strange wavelengths. At times, all of his gestures are visible. At others, it's a blazing spasm, a fraction of eye-capture. Sharp white lights and a black outline with no color variations. Through flashes so powerful, the show plays tricks to the audience’s eyes. Shattered afterimages, undead negatives, frail specters are impressed in the cornea burning bunraku-style climactic power-gestures. The tap-dance-like moves point to an unyielding shadow-boxing against all recognizable human poses. No one can stop him. It’s finally in front of our eyes in all its sheer and wild beauty; 50% music gig, 50% performance art, 50% dance choreography. 200% intoxicating body motion loaded with power.
All at once, the stage becomes a platform for synesthetic visualization. Body and light and space and sound reveal each other as metonymic figures and prosthetic extensions. The theater of the body becomes a dramaturgy of the circuit. All elements, a feedbacking continuation of each other by other means. Each move is a gateway, a tunnel to the center of your brain opened by means of thrashing percussive licks, herky-jerky feet, ignited pedal rigs and labyrinthine cable routings linking impulses to lights and making them a whole. An architectural-technological maverick and total sound object, an esoteric expanded instrument for a series of ultra-expanded techniques, a hybrid non-human organism that is far from futuristic; automatic primeval life-force trapped into an action-reaction loop and unleashed into a wall of sound. It’s a virtuoso’s acrobatic shock test, a score to tame electrocution, a bodily practice exhuming and exposing the electrical subtext of every action, of will, of the mysteries of motion that makes us last unstoppable. Electricity is a foe you cannot sense.
Here, fragmentation is mastered to sustain the tension. To use that sustain as a vessel for maximum, hazardous release. It’s about exploiting electrostatic accumulation until the body explodes with electric tension transfiguring the space. There is no room for narrative in these manipulations of the states of matter. The issue is more: how do I get there? How do I find this moment at the crossroad between podorythmia and electric impedance and stay into it as long as possible? This moment where sound becomes the body and vice versa, where riding the intensity vector allows one to jump in between dimensions, into an open vortex leading to a space undefined, where everything is everything else.
This cycle of thunders in the room, of synesthetic rhythmic deflagrations, appears as a profane alchemic exercise in figures transmutation carried out with scientific precision, with physical devotion, with austere fury. From touch to sound, to light, to electricity, to impulse. The king Midas of odd-frequencies sloughs, brain-freeze loops and dive bomb FXs. From the perspective of these almost unearthly forces, the philosopher's stone might as well have been a piece of shining, raw nickel. “Discover and express yourself into the music, be you and not a copy of someone or something”. This flow of cephalic carnage stunts is just another way of summoning yourself out of the static ocean that is the noise floor. When the procedure will be complete, you’ll be one and new again. Part human, part flow of absolute energy. See you outside the jurisdiction of your comfort zone, where the holy ghost of acoustic spaces reigns supreme, speaking the manifold tongues of electrical circuitry and reverb convolutions.