After a string of Natural Snow Buildings reissues, each more elaborate then the last, Ba Da Bing presents first ever release of new material from the band. For a group known for it’s use of horror imagery and lyricism, perhaps the most shocking thing of all is that this album clocks in at just under 45 minutes. If there ever was an album that served as the proper entry point for Natural Snow Buildings, Terror’s Horns is it. It would be a stretch to call this Mehdi Ameziane and Solange Gularte’s pop record, for Terror’s Horns continues in the duo’s tradition of combining many layers into sometimes blissful, sometimes contemplative, often menacing conditions. Stringed instruments trill, percussion gongs, feedback hisses and vocals maintain near monotone as if in a cultish trance. The songs still pride themselves on a slow development, and the album’s progression lends the impression of descending down through the depths, past hidden cavities and chambers that you will never unsee once experienced. Featuring new artwork by Gularte which pays tribute to the backwoods horror of massacres involving chainsaws.
Every time we see wind turbines, rotors slowly turning, we just can’t help but think about the Future. In our view, that’s the most futuristic yet basic apparatus man has ever created: using wind to produce energy. Wind farms. This expression tells everything. We can’t help but feeling nostalgic about a future that could have been, someuchronic embranchment we totally missed… And by some twisted space/time distortion, we can have a glimpse of what’s happening in some better and gentle parallel future. Wind turbines represent our very personal resistance to change.
In 1966, a young nurse tells to the camera the gruesome details about victims taken in a firestorm: they were just falling apart. Another woman confesses her total ignorance concerning the effects of the strontium 90 on the human body. Those portraits of people confronted with the more drastic human technology created shock you can imagine are taken from a docudrama: The War Game, in which Peter Watkins, using the knowledge of similar situations that happened in Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Dresden, carefully dramatised the unpreparedness of England (and therefore of any country) if confronted by a large scale nuclear attack.
We can’t ignore the powerful adaptive capacity of human beings, building syncretism out of the most dissimilar and dissonant innovations, but every scientific advancement in any domain from medicine to robotics lies in the shadow of its military and destructive counterpart. Nuclear destruction is the most abrupt collision with the future we can have nightmares about. Should it be illustrated by a giant lizard destroying Tokyo, the dead rising to feed on human brains or climate change?
By introducing violence at the very core of things and disturbing its inner structure, nuclear science built its very own path into the future. 1971: a desert, two teams: activists on the left, cops on the right. The latter preying on the former in a grotesque race for a red flag. Forget about space travels and personal jet packs, flying cars and robot slaves: welcome to the nuclear-age Enclave of the Future: it’s not called Westworld, it’s called Punishment Park.
1974, an entropic sun is bursting open the sky of Texas, like it was about to cook the whole world down there; an astrology book is read aloud, planet’s conjunctions announcing bad events; a picture is taken then burnt in a strange propitiation rite before the hunt; a terrified young woman is invited to a cannibalistic supper, her own eyeballs, closed up, under pressure of some inner fission… The place is isolated enough to make you think it could be anywhere the ‘day after’… Several years ahead, detoured on an orange glow background, Michael Berryman’s crazy look staring at us. We’re too young to realize it but he’s our Future Shock, the bogeyman you’ll have to fight after the desertification of this world. Information overload won’t be the danger anymore, Information flowing is life. An infinity of culture constantly in the making, lost in the fire, buried under the ashes, the memory slowly fading away while its remains lie on the shoulder of the few humans left, shocked and wandering on the roads; information stripped bare to the stuttering messages of the Emergency Network broadcast taking over; wind blowing its droning song through the ruins. This is our Future Shock.