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Claire Gapenne a.k.a. Terrine
the guts, they are back, and they are in France
A few weeks ago, Joe turned me on to Terrine, a French electronic act I’d never heard. Within days, the newest Terrine album, Standing Abs, was my constant companion. I haven’t stopped playing it since, and I usually loop it three times when I put it on, to get the right amount. Claire Gapenne, who is Terrine, makes work like nobody else in electronic-ish music right now. Knowing the nerds and passionate bananas out there as I do, I am little bit surprised this album hasn’t become a huge deal.
This is electronic music that rejects the world of galloping presets and commands. There is a sense of touch here that recalls some European free improv or maybe a live Basic Channel set, if their approach had been a little less po-faced. You can hear her hands on the machine at every turn.
The album starts with her friend Simon telling her to go, and then we get a hard pulse. For a moment, it seems like we might be in Berghain territory, doing the goofy aggression. That ends quickly, though, and the music becomes more like a live drum machine workout. We go from there to a cascade of short-wave nuts and berries, blind piano recitals, stellated gate pops, and echo trails. Every time I hear it, Standing Abs feels different—maybe like early Throbbing Gristle, maybe what Autechre would do if trapped in a closet with two calculators and a piano. Sometimes, Standing Abs reminds me of Ghédalia Tazartes, because of how fearless it is, and at other times, Kara-Lis Coverdale’s Grafts, in terms of how coherent and alive everything feels. What comes through is spirit and guts—maybe that’s the term I want, since I never hear it. Guts.
I corresponded with Gapenne over the summer and present her answers and photos below, basically unedited. It feels true to the nature of her project to let it stay first take. Please subscribe if you like this sort of thing.
On my first Terrine tape (Mes seins plutôt que française, from 2015) i played guitar, voice and mp3 for background (noise, rythmes...) that was rock/industrial/lofi, after i did some collages with field recordings, differents tools, lofi poetics... and my first LP i release by my self were (EBN) is electronic dub/industrial i record at Angstrom studio in Brussel in 2016.
Before doing music i was into classical dance younger, and i studied art (not long). I started making rock bands when i was teenager, and at 20 i meet the band Headwar (industrial rock french band from my city) and i change my mind with music and the diy stuff that they did, more experimental, more engage... We opened our own place then (Accueil Froid) with these friends and i started playing with them. After few years, at 25 i started practice alone like many friends from DIY (in France), it started more like an exercise. Today i still have the same eye i guess
i didn't record Standing Abs all by myself. a friend (Simon Leopold) helped me to rec the structure of our place that is shaking with the bass
so thats make differents rooms in the album, sometimes lots of reverb, sometimes dry.
This is the place where we organise shows, and i really like the sounds of the irone structure that answer the bass with volume, that was interesting. For the piano i just recorded in the conservatory of Amiens some random shit with my magic hangover ^^
For the first track, we played with the structure sound of the factory where we record. the place is an old yagurt factory. For this one i only used elektron drumachine.
second track: yeah, it is just improvisation with digitone mix with impro piano. i usualy record one to one without knowing what im gonna put over—heureux hazard.
in 2019 i made an LP i called Cheat Days, it’s the thing that fitness youtuber do when they are on diet, that’s stupid but poetic in a way, as you hear it
Standing Abs is also a fitness youtuber thing to excercise, but it’s also very poetic and funny to me. A standing abs could be something when you are laughing. Also reminds me Elton John ‘Im still standing’ pff hahaha
I am really not much into exercise at all, i do some pilates sometimes, not that ofen or workout at home (Chloé Ting, Eleni Fit) ^^
I think Standing Abs are more an ensemble (or collection) but my favorite is probably “Carrageenan do dad jokes” and “La Nimpro”
héhé my “summer playlist” is this:
Kali Uchis - Endlessly
François Jeanneau - Une bien curieuse planète
Fiona Apple - On the bound
and “Ain’t No Need.”
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