In Aeternam Vale – Pink Flamingos

As part of the French cold wave movement in the early-‘80s, In Aeternam Vale cultivated a particular sound, with their transgressive minimal synth experiments considered by some as ‘proto-techno’. Initially a group, Laurent Prot soon took full control over the project in 1985 and after long period of dormancy his career was revived again by Minimal Wave boss Veronica Vasicka only a few years ago. This brought forth a new dimension of his sound that’s still steeped in strict analogue traditions that he helped innovate, while clearly having a knack for contemporary aesthetics. Still staring to the future like he did as a young Lyonnaise punk some three decades prior.

In Aeternam Vale - Pink Flamingos
Artist
In Aeternam Vale
Title
Pink Flamingos
Label
DEMENT3D
Format
3LP
Buy vinyl

Pink Flamingos features over a dozen IAV tracks from as early as 1986 to as recent as 2014. All until now unreleased. As Prot told this site in an interview two years ago, “Minimal Wave contacted me to make a first project with old material and she wanted to use that name that I was not using anymore.” This odd twist of fate resulted in the first self-titled compilation which featured previously unreleased works from the early to mid-’80s and 2012’s quite brilliant Dust Under Brightness. A few years later we were treated the tunnelling techno experiments of “La Piscine” and “Ultrabase” – a real shift in style that held great promise.

Instead of satisfying the nostalgists, Prot focuses on his singular vision; continuing to innovate while integrating the foundations of his style that is so well regarded. There’s some tremendous fragments of his career to be found on this compilation; take for instance the 19-minute dark ambient epic “Hole” from 1996 which is as advanced anything coming out of the post-hypnotic techno fad of the current day. It also rewinds, way back, representing his ’80s heyday, where we have the snarling post punk antics of “Feed Me” (sounding very much like NYC synth-punks Suicide) and the bittersweet closer “La Pluile” a perfect synthpop moment. It’ll remain a mystery as to why a track this brilliant was never previously released until now.

Where the compilations really shines though is when he nails that perfect combination of past and present, best demonstrated on tracks like “Clobenzorex” or ”B”. The latter reaches for moments of futurist psychedelia in a manner similar to Rrose. Speaking of which, there’s some real moments of travelling without moving, such as on the drone excursion “Alone” while the series “Soundscape 2 – 5” (2013) are what DEMENT3D themselves best describe as “unedited hardware techno jams”. The tunnelling epic “181” is reminiscent of DEMENT3D label fare such as Polar Inertia and provides one of this album’s most intense moments.

There’s an undeniably stylistic approach to it all, considering his known and fairly obvious disregard for modern music trends both then and now. A new perspective on what some may consider outsider techno. DEMENT3D have done a fine job in working with Prot to showcase a tremendous career spanning three decades in a presentation which shows off the efforts of such a rare talent but without being just another compilation of played and heard material. Not bad for the 50 year old local who CLFT’s Simon Chambon-Andreani said “was in a punk rock band in the ‘80s, and was now making monster techno tunes”.

Nic Tuohey

Tracklisting:

A1. Clobenzorex (1988)
A2. Soundscape 5 (2013)
A3. Feed Me (2013)
B1. B (2014)
B2. Alone (2014)
B3. Soundscape 2 (2013)
C1. 181 (1989)
C2. Congestion Cosh (1995 )
D1. Soundscape 1 (2013)
D2. Hole (1996)
E1. Autour Du Signal (2013)
E2. 176 (1989)
F1. Soundscape 4 (2013)
F2. Drones (2015)
F3. Soundscape 3 (2013)
F4. La Pluie (1986)