Buffoon – Chromoscope (Jezus Factory Records)

Buffoon – Chromoscope (Jezus Factory Records)

Hercule Poirot, chocolate, lace and Peter Vleugels are all products of Belgium, the latter named being the driving and creative force behind the musical project that is Buffoon. Little known outside of the Low Countries, Buffoon has been a band, a collective of friends revolving around the central axis of Vleugels, but on this record it is just the man himself. Chromoscope is a compilation of music written, played, recorded and mixed over the past two decades by Vleugels in the confines of his own home. It condenses some twenty years of his sprawling musical vision onto two sides of a 12” vinyl record.

Like Gregor Samsa before him, Vleugels went into his bedroom one night and emerged later having been completely transformed. Unlike Kafka’s character in Metamorphosis, though, Vleugels did not suddenly change into some monstrous insect.  Behind that closed door his wholesale absorption of a range of influences from Fence to Folk Implosion, Sparklehorse to The Smithereens and The Posies to The Pixies did in fact turn him by some sort of strange process of aural osmosis into a kaleidoscopic human juke-box.

Similar in style though not necessarily form to much of Ariel Pink’s earlier output, Chromoscope takes the same scattergun DIY approach to the more loose concepts of psychedelia, lo-fidelity and experimentalism.  As you might expect when taken over a twenty year period, the end results are variable. Whether it is speeded up or slowed down, there are a number of occasions when the scope of Vleugels’ musical imagination just seems to run away from what he can reasonably hope to achieve in his bedroom with his battery of instruments and a tape deck. Yet there are moments, many moments in fact, when it does all come together in a rather glorious coalescence of sound. These are the times when he flirts outrageously with a territory occupied by Animal Collective and the ghosts of Mark Linkous, Vic Chesnutt and Elliot Smith and somehow gets away with being that bold.


Released on vinyl with CD on 6th May 2013


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