(Monochrome Vision)

How many names still unknown to me after decades in this trade. Batchas is only one of the several monikers of French musician Robert Massé, who was active as a composer in the electro-acoustic and industrial scene between – you guessed it – 1985 and 1995, year in which he stopped creating music altogether (he currently works on multimedia project as a Flash developer). Where was I at that time? Why I never met this artist before? Questions without an answer – and this was among my principal musical fields of interest in those years, go figure. This CD features tracks from an unreleased Batchas album, plus reworked and remastered materials from the same decade. Most of this stuff is definitely enthralling, based as it is upon heavily processed vocal and instrumental sources that attribute an aura of mystery to the pieces. Think Lustmord – meaning the best Lustmord – and you’re not too far away: cavernous resonances, glacial tempests, breathtakingly throbbing low frequencies, reverberant quakes. Very well made, with consistency and a sense of limit – something that today is depressingly missing, resulting in esoteric releases that make me laugh hard. Rustling matters, tapes that slow down becoming a mournful ellipsis of beguiling shadowy beauty. Even the segments that could result as harsh possess a smoothness of sorts, making sure that they don’t overstay their welcome. Dark ambient at its finest. On a second thought, I’m not surprised about Massé quitting. He had probably realized that the genre was all but dying – so better leave it at that.