Since the beginning of time, human beings have been telling stories, creating artistic masterpieces, symphonies, and epic poetry in an attempt to help mortal eyes and ears comprehend the incomprehensible. From the vastness of the universe to the jittery buzz of a first love, there are thousands of corresponding books, songs, paintings, and poems from every conceivable corner of the globe. The music of Igorrr is one of those things.
I have spent a considerable amount of time with “Spirituality and Distortion,” trying to figure out the best way to express its contents. I could write about how Igorrr (the stage name of French multi-instrumentalist, Gautier Serre) employed a chicken to play piano on his first EP, or outline and defend the Avant-garde in heavy music. I could list the dozens of musicians who contribute to Igorrr’s sound, or a directory of side-projects, alongside a track by track analysis of the album, but all of that kind of shit would just get in the way. So, let me tell you a story.
We open in a small Middle Eastern village just outside of an ancient wasteland called “Downgrade Desert.” The townsfolk are gathered at the ruins of a Colosseum, to celebrate the changing of seasons and honour fallen heroes. A Gegenees stands in the centre of the theatre making sounds with all six of his arms, telling tales about battle with the Argonauts on Bear Mountain. The Gegenees is an incredible drummer, as one might expect, but equally adept at not only electric and acoustic guitar, but also sitar and qanun. He strums an oud with his teeth, just as a woman eloquently dressed as the goddess Iris emerges from the shadows. She and a chorus of non-binary cloud-nymphs begin chanting about their own contributions to mythology. They’re getting along fantastically, all at once impressing and terrifying the crowd, which before long begins to spill from the stone seating. They dance with the giant and the goddess. They sing along. They know all the words! They too play guitars! Then Old Man Hesiod interrupts, screaming from a bullhorn the size of Minotaur junk, “Hey! Turn that shit down!”
And that is only the first song!
The party quietly continues with the “Nervous Waltz,” but all hell breaks loose when Scott Ian arrives to jam with the giant, along with Amon Tobin and R2D2! The townsfolk don’t take kindly to the intrusion, but it doesn’t stand a chance against such massive riffage and trip hop breakbeats from galaxies far far away! The music’s “Very Noise” can be heard all the way to the “Hollow Tree.” There the goddess Iris, armed with a harpsichord, marches to meet and plead with the maniacal band. She offers them wealth and entry into the realm of the deep forest if they’ll just chill out, but the giant digs the beat. Iris begins to shake the earth around her, as if to say “Oh! You wanna see power, buddy? I’ll show you power!” And so gathers the storm.
It is upon the “Camel Dancefloor” that she shows her true colors, introducing her own bewitching ambrosial horde. The electric ghosts of Ravi Shankar and Dick Dale play alongside holograms of Aphex Twin and Dave Mustaine. Not one to be left out, Les Claypool blows an audible ring of weed smoke into the sky. The smoke rises loudly, raining down droplets of psychedelic glitter, until slamming into the steel bottom of the spaceship “Parpaing.” This is not good news. Because Captain George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher… is no fan of Primus!
I’d like to step back into reality now, because this is the part where the Polka music with blast-beats starts, and none of us really have time for that type of nonsense, especially considering it actually pulls off sounding Metal as fuck. Besides, if you’ve read this far without having an anxiety attack, you’ve probably all got one thing in common: You want to hear this album.
“Spirituality and Distortion” is an absolute masterpiece of genre-bending insanity, and Igorrr as a collective just might be the most innovative voice in experimental music.
Rating – 5/5