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HIV+ – Theatre Of Cruelty

by François Zappa

Theatre Of Cruelty is the new album from power electronics/industrial project HIV+, whose last “solo” album was We are all Haunted Houses from 2007. The new work from the Spanish musician located in France is a tribute to the poet, actor and playwright Antonin Artaud, whose concept of the theatre of cruelty tried to restore vibrant and real emotions in the theatre of the time. We could compare HIV+ with Artaud in his search of a revulsive art with real emotions, in his try of bringing a work that is more than harmless noises. Theatre Of Cruelty has been recorded using only old Korg synths, something that really gives the album a sense of timelessness. The vinyl and CD edition have been released by the artist’s own label Unknown Pleasures Records, while Industrial Complexx has published the album on cassette.

The work of HIV+ has always been full of collaborations and in this album we have an incredible line-up: Marc Hurtado, one of the brothers from Etant Donnés who has also recorded albums with Alan Vega and Lydia Lunch, Marc Caro, director of Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children, guitar player Alice Botté (who released an album on Unknown Pleasure), Phil Von (from Von Magnet), Emmanuel Hubaut (from Tétines Noires) and Barkosina Yod (from Years Of Denial, one of the bands that we’re listening to more frequently at the moment). 

The album starts with a long track entitled “Amour” featuring Marc Hurtado’s deep voice. In this song, his voice seems to come from Hell, and to have bring the shouts of pain of some innocent souls condemned to suffer forever. HIV+ adds a minimal electronic rhythm with some unexpected and short storms of electricity. The second track brings the impressive voice of Barkosina Yod reading a collage of From The Nerve Meter over an industrial background. In “Pour en Finir avec le Jugement de Dieu” there are some buzzing sounds, voice samples and a continuous disturbing vibe. Instead in “Extase,” Phil Von sings in a theatrical way until he seems to reach an orgasm, while, at the same time, the music keeps gaining intensity. One of the best moments of the album.

“L’Amour Sans Trève” has again the voice of Marc Hurtado, this time singing with a softer tone that is balanced by some evil echoes and a repetitive and edgy music background. In “Injection” we can find the distorted voice of Marc Caro in a dark and disturbing track where the synth at the end highlight the feeling of menace. The song reminds me of some of Leyland Kirby’s work because it gives you the impression of being trapped in an old and scary movie. Instead, we find more classic industrial sounds in “Médecine,” one of the two tracks made by HIV+ on his own. “Limbes” is a more ambient track that seems like a rest in this sonic hell that is this album. In “Ombilic” we can find one of the most disturbing and terrifying songs with the frightening voice of Emmanuel Hubaut and the collaboration of Alice Botté. “Artaud le Momo,” has the distortion of Alice’s guitar as protagonist, who also appears in the last track “Pulsation” where the radio samples help creating a feeling of danger.  

Artaud said that he would have liked to write a book which would have driven men mad, which would have been like an open door leading them where they would never have consented to go, in short, a door that would open onto reality. We are sure that Pedro Robles y Peñas aka HIV+ had the same intention with this album but we are also sure that he has succeeded in achieving it.

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