February 21, 2008

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Die Form, Bach Project
Metropolis Records, Feb. 5
None but the spectacularly perverse French couple — or whatever the hell they are — Die Form could re-characterize J.S. Bach as a frequent flier on the Marquis de Sade’s party circuit. Their erotic art experiments have always been dark, if never cynical; their meanderings are guided tours of the inner museum of desire we conceal even from our shrinks. The last two DF albums constituted a “diptych,” in their hyper-imaginative parlance, yin-and-yin albums laying the sum concept of “cybersex” under a microscope.

With that out of their system, they’ve emerged from their impossible tangle of bedsheets with a set of Bach pieces reveling in the composer’s triumphant, ecstatic and forlorn sides equally. First comes the instrumental Church Cantata, done up in a synth that’s no real whopper of an improvement over Switched on Bach, a soon-to-be-common complaint about some of this collection, though not where project mastermind Philippe Fichot inserts his assorted droid-glitches. Regardless, it’s Elaine P’s headstrong, alien soprano that’s always made this lot a must-experience — when she begins floating over and seducing “Quia Respexit” the record’s already more than paid for itself. Toccata Nr. 2 in D Minor — the all-purpose spooky organ piece that’s the “Jingle Bells” of Halloween — is included as simple goth-bait. A — E. W. S.