Abraham Fogg – Blåkulla: Chilly textures with scary melodies

Duo’s film-score approach to music is both commanding and anxiety-inducing

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Artist: Abraham Fogg
Genre: Alternative
Label: Warp Records

Grégoire Vaillant and Charles Edouard have certainly cultivated an online image. The website for the audio/visual project Abraham Fogg is working on carries “dark narrative content for adults”; “X-periences for people over 18”. The pair, who collaborate under the moniker Abraham Fogg, share the Warp label with the likes of Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada and Danny Brown, making anxious, heady and cinematic electronic art. The live show even takes the form of a pagan ceremony, and is “forbidden for under-18s”.

Pulsating beat

The album portion of the project – based on “one of the oldest horror films in history” – has the dual effect of being both commanding and anxiety-inducing. Thankfully, it’s not always as terrifying as the pair would have you believe. The string quartet leading on Le Vol des Sorcières grounds the piece in earthy textures, while a pulsating beat hints at the more industrial elements of the record.

Magicians and devils

Elsewhere, magicians and devils appear, and Exorcism sees the introduction of an ethereal choir, threatening and loud in their high register while screeching strings build to a climax.

It’s clear that the pair have the visual aspect of the project in mind – the album is more like a film score than a narrative unto itself. Nonetheless, balancing these chilly textures with melodies you can hold on to is no mean feat, and Abraham Fogg succeeds in both engaging and scaring the bejesus out of you.

Andrea Cleary

Andrea Cleary is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in culture