Royal Dagger Ballet
TRZTN is the alias of Tristan Bechet, the phenomenally talented musician/composer/producer who worked with Karen O on the soundtrack of Spike Jonze’s “Where the Wild Things Are”, and as no-wave band Flux Information Sciences was featured on Scott Crary’s documentary “Kill Your Idols”.
Working between Paris and New York, TRZTN has assembled an impressive roster of talent for his latest project, an extraordinary album called “Royal Dagger Ballet” which features Karen O, Paul Banks (Interpol), Dani Miller (Surfbort) and Jonathan Bree along with many others.
Impressive, atmospheric and disturbing, the album leads with the single “Black Exit” feat. Paul Banks which was released last November, but has been around a while, along with CGI rendered video by Tim Richardson depicting the song as a digital pulse, psychosexual and complex imagery of the human body, in his own words “inspired by H.R. Giger’s organic futurism”. This blend of future noir, Blade Runner meeting Depeche Mode in an alleyway meeting organised by Trent Reznor, bleeds through several songs on the album. On the other hand, “Ruby’s Wheel”, featuring Tibetan-born Yesh, is a life affirming song of joy and development, with a naturalistic video following a teenage skater’s day.
The relationship between the human body and its environment seems to run as a theme, with the video for “Metal Sky” feat. Eiko Hara alternating landscape imagery with Lauren Cuthbertson’s interpretive dance. Similarly the collaboration with Karen O, “Hieroglyphs” has Victoria Dauberville’s character breaking down on our behalf in a parking garage, the most inhuman of spaces, and transforming via CGI into a beautifully deranged series of pulsating shapes. The track uses Karen O’s voice in a transformed manner as well, re-sampling itself to create staccato soundscapes. As Tristan says, “The track disintegrates and falls back together like the push and pull of a rubber band stretching”, just as the dancer and her fragile humanity are reconfigured.
“Crosswinds” a tinkling and architectural piece featuring Estrael Boiso is accompanied by a rotating sun, its solar winds and flares as much a threat as the climactic changes on Earth.
The album includes instrumental pieces by TRZTN as well as collaborations, but every track features elements which were out of control at recording, with field noise and random consequences of mistakes and pitch shifts, along with lyrical meanings which are oblique and yet instantly recognisable. As an experimental work it’s totally accessible and needs a wide audience, the electronics and morphic nature of the work being entirely of our time.
“Royal Dagger Ballet” is released on Friday 22nd January.